25 Aug 2011

Madang governor alarmed at planned PNG resource law change

2:46 pm on 25 August 2011

The Governor of Papua New Guinea's Madang province says that proposed changes to rules governing ownership of resources pose a risk to the country's development.

Sir Arnold Amet's comment comes after the new mining minister Byron Chan proposed legislation to hand ownership of resources below the six-feet underground mark to customary landowners.

Currently all below that mark is controlled by the state.

Sir Arnold, who was the Attorney General in the recently ousted Somare administration, says the surge of public discussion about issues of land and resources in PNG is generally valid discourse.

But he warns that the new national government is misinformed in pushing for changes.

"They rushed into making a policy statement that hadn't really been considered. It would change the goalposts fundamentally. And that is something that needs a lot of thought before you could even contemplate talking about it or even talking about it. It sends the wrong message to our investors, to the extractive industry."

Sir Arnold Amet