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Who will really benefit from the PNG LNG project


While the land based signing agreements for the LNG project in the country are underway, those living closer to the project sites do not know if they will benefit. [After] the Kutubu oil fields and Hides gas projects … many people living closer to the projects believe they would be left out again – PNG Post-Courier

It's the same the whole world over / It's the poor what gets the blame / It's the rich what gets the pleasure / Ain't it all a bloomin' shame – ‘She was poor but she was honest’, pre-WWI English music hall song

The old song parodies life as seen by the poor of the day, highlighting class structure and the impression that ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer'.

PNG is on the threshold of another mining and resources boom with the announcement of a huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) project estimated to be worth billions of dollars.

Returns from gold and nickel mining are also set to provide a further huge boost to national income. But where is all this money heading for and will the majority of people benefit?

Past performances indicate that returns from resources development rarely last unless there is long-term planning and careful management of this national treasure well before the money starts to flow.

Current disputes over land and resources have already caused one civil war in Bougainville. The difficulty of establishing ownership in PNG is exacerbated by a traditional land tenure system not geared to resource development.

This system has difficulty is establishing who are the rightful owners of land and often leads to conflict.

Whenever there is an opportunity to gain without pain, many people want a piece of the action.

The government will expect that the lion’s share will be available to PNG as a whole. Past experience indicates, however, that the funds will be frittered away on unproductive public servants and government sycophants.

News reports have made much of the launch of the resources boom but very little about how the funds will be distributed in the general good.

The people of PNG deserve to know how they and future generations will benefit from this new wealth.


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