Govt yet to ID right landowner group

The Government has not released payment to disgruntled Koiari landowners as yet because they are yet to identify the right group.

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Charles Abel, said this recently when asked for an update on the payment issue.

More than two Koiari landowner groups have popped up in recent years, creating complications when it comes to the disbursement of royalties or land vetting and mobilisation funds.

The most recent issue encountered was when a large group of locals shut off water valves at the hydrostations on the 22nd of March, demanding K10 million in payment.

Whilst Treasurer Charles Abel and Secretary Dairi Vele met with the disgruntled group and committed to make the payment, another Incorporated Land Group from lower Koiari disputed their decision.  

“We assigned the chief secretary and Dairi to talk to the people and just try and get everybody in the room and, who do we need to assist to form the ILGs and which groups are to be paid are just some of the things we are working through,” said Abel.

“But one of the things that I recommended to the chief secretary and to Dairi is to give the money to PNG Power and let PNG Power take on that process. Leave chief secretary and Treasury to worry about the economy.

“Those frontline agencies who deal with these people every day – whether it’s at the Sirinumu Dam or the Rouna power stations going down the river – they are in a better position to manage those issues. And that has been my recommendation.”

Abel further said the K10 million is available while a consultation process has already commenced between the chief secretary and Koiari landowners.  

(Koiari locals staging a protest in front of the Rouna 2 hydrostation on March 22nd)

Carmella Gware