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Govt has no intention to take local land: Minister

By HELEN TARAWA, the National PNG
THE Government has no intention to take away customary land from its owners, Minister for Lands and Physical Planning Justin Tkatchenko says.
Speaking at the opening of the Southern Region Lands Summit workshop in Port Moresby yesterday, Tkatchenko, pictured, said: “We (the Government) are here to listen to you and hear how we can resolve some of the issues that we are now facing when it comes to customary land.

“This summit is just about customary land; it’s about getting it right.
“This is your forum today, this is about going through the subject matter and how government should improve on the laws and regulations of customary land in Papua New Guinea.”

Tkatchenko said the summit was an opportunity to strengthen Incorporated Lands Groups (ILGs) to make it more significant when it came to registering customary land.

He said the last Land summit was in 2005 and that was a broad spectrum of topics but this summit would focus on customary land issues in the four regions.

“We will have our national Lands Summit in May where all our ideas, suggestions and thoughts are put together as one to reform and to change customary land laws, regulations for the benefit of our landowners now and into the future,”

Tkatchenko said.

Kairuku-Hiri MP Peter Isoaimo said the workshop was an eye-opener for many of the landowners in the National Capital District and the district.
“People need to suggest to the Government how we can address their issues by way of accommodating their interest in the new legislations,” Isoaimo said. “We sympathise that a lot of them have land issues backdating to the last 20 to 30 years.

“But the procedures and processes need to be redefined in the Lands Department to allow people to have access to registering their portions of land.”

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