28 Jul 2011

Former PNG Prime Minister says resource law change a priority

2:13 pm on 28 July 2011

A former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister says years of government policies have failed to ensure that local people benefit from major resource extraction projects.

Sir Julius Chan, who is now New Ireland Provincial Governor, says PNG's resource laws need urgent reform because while the state enjoys the revenue from huge economic growth, the provinces are suffering.

He has signalled the rising levels of poverty as a priority area for his People's Progress Party ahead of the 2012 general election.

Our correspondent, Oseah Philemon, says Sir Julius claims his province is owed tens of millions of dollars in public funds promised by central government.

"Despite a Memorandum of Agreement which he signed when he was Prime Minister, money has not been transferred to New Ireland province. And as a result, New Ireland has not been able to develop infrastructure education, health services, roads etc, a lot of the things in New Ireland province."

Oseah Philemon