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Lands minister Rosso must act on long-running SABL scandal

Sabl-how-much-landEDDIE TANAGO | Campaign Manager, Act Now!

PORT MORESBY - New lands minister John Rosso must make the Special Agricultural Business Lease (SABL) land scandal his number one priority!

It is a national disgrace that six years after a commission of inquiry most of the unlawful leases recommended for cancellation still exist.

For six years, the O’Neill government made promise after promise to cancel the leases, stop the logging and return the land to its customary owners, but all we have seen are lies and obfuscation.

Act Now! says if the new Marape government is serious about tackling corruption then the SABL scandal must be finally put to bed.

The minister should start by publishing a list of all the SABLs and their current status. The people have a right to know, which leases have been cancelled and which have not.

We have written to the previous government and made numerous public requests for information but these have been ignored.

Will the new minister and the new government be any more open and honest with the people?

The minister needs to then set out a timetable for when the remaining leases will be cancelled.

ACT NOW! says minister Rosso should also put a halt to any new incorporated land group registrations and any customary land registration, as these are the mechanisms exploited by the logging industry and other land grabbers to unlawfully gain access to customary land.

The whole system for the administration of customary land has been corrupted, as the national and supreme courts have pointed out many times.

Nothing is working as it should and the previous government ignored all the evidence to press ahead with its own land alienation agenda.

The minister must signal an end to the corruption and mismanagement by finally cancelling the SABL leases and stopping any more abuses.

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