7 Jun 2010

PNG PM defends controversial amendment to Environment Act

1:31 pm on 7 June 2010

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister has defended the recent amendment to the Environment and Conservation Act, saying the controversial law has been misinterpreted.

Sir Michael Somare denies claims by the opposition, environmental groups and other NGOs that landowner rights have been curtailed by the amendment.

The government has been criticised for favouring developers through the amendment by preventing law suits being filed against environmental damages caused by resource projects.

However Sir Michael says project developers must still comply with PNG's strict environment regulations before permits can be issued by the government.

He says this process of compliance safeguard is in the interest of landowners, their land and the environment.

But the Prime Minister says it would be irresponsible of government not to also protect the interest of project developers who comply with environment regulations.