Land reforms expected in NCD

Reforms and changes should be expected over the coming years, says Lands Minister Justin Tkatchenko.

Tkatchenko says he will be working with the NCD Governor, Powes Parkop, to address the land issues in NCD.

He said before his appointment, he as Moresby South MP and Governor Parkop pushed hard to secure land in the city for the resident but were met with many setbacks.

But today, as the Minster responsible, they are going to do the right thing for the people.

For years the NCD Governor had pushed for a separate land board so that the Planning Division in NCD could properly map out the city’s development.

This request had been rejected by previous Lands ministers, stating that a separate NCD Land Board would create a duplication of roles.

Governor Parkop has been outspoken about the Lands Department, previously calling it the most corrupt Government department in the country due to various land issues in the capital city and around the country.

However, Minister Tkatchenko says the Governor’s tone has changed since.

“The most important thing the Governor recognises and realises is we cannot duplicate the process,” said the Minister.  

“We can’t duplicate the process having one board doing one thing and another board doing another thing. This is where we get double titles, we get decisions that are confrontational.

“So we’re working very closely with the Governor.

“I think if you ask the Governor now on his relationship with the Lands Department, it’s a completely different ball game now.  Because I was supporting the Governor. We were in the same boat trying to fight for our land for our people and we were getting nowhere,” said Tkatchenko.

Since his appointment, an NCD Land Board Unit was set up to assist in acquiring back NCD land which includes public space, road reserves, markets, parks and gardens, sporting fields and recreational areas.

The Minister said he and the Governor will now work closely to safeguard the land.

“So you’re going to see a lot more change and reform over the next couple of years,” Tkatchenko said.

(Loop file pic)

Cedric Patjole