Legislation may be passed for Jomat Passage in Milne Bay

Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, says legislation may be passed so that the Jomat Passage in Milne Bay Province can be protected for the interest of the people.

He said this in Parliament today when responding to Milne Bay Governor, Titus Philemon, who raised several questions relating to the sea passage.

Governor Philemon asked the Government if they were aware of the increasing volume of ships using the passage, especially from Australia and New Zealand, as a cheap route for exporting purposes.

He said the passage was home to diverse marine life and the increasing activity may affect it as the people depended on the passage as well  for a living as well as for small scale commercial means.

O’Neill said the he was aware of the increasing volume of ships through the passage and confirmed receiving the letter from Philemon which he has made recommendations to officials to process.

The Prime Minister said the National Maritime Safety Authority and the Department of Transport are currently working to resolve the issue.

He said there has been suggestion about declaring that particular area as a port area but the difficulty there is the lack of port infrastructure.

“It may mean that we come to a Parliamentary change or some legislation to cater for that, but I agree with the good Governor, that we make sure to protect our peoples interest and also get some income out for our people in that passage,” said O’Neill.

Cedric Patjole