PNG govt told to act now on SABLs

12:19 pm on 5 September 2019

The new Papua New Guinea government must act to clear up the mess around SABLs, or Special Agricultural Land Leases, an activist says.

Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea. Photo: DOZIER Marc /

Millions of hectares of PNG's tropical forest are included within the SABLS in which foreign companies are harvesting the trees and planting plantations of palm oil.

The first leases were granted more than 10 years ago but a commission of inquiry concluded in 2013 that most of the SABLs were illegal and the contracts should be torn up.

A spokesperson for activist group Act Now!, Eddie Tanago, said new prime minister James Marape and lands Minister John Rosso needed to act.

The previous government had failed to do anything and six years after the inquiry, most of the SABLs remain in place, Mr Tanago said.

"They have claimed that most of the SABLs have been cancelled but we want to see evidence. We want to have a full list of them. Each one's status, showing which ones have been cancelled, which ones are still in operation so people are made aware of the current state of them," he said.

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