This follows Governor Sir Julius Chan’s stance in Parliament to declare war on logging companies in New Ireland Province.
“It has become evident to the New Ireland Government that there is systematic corruption within the Forestry sector, including the disrespect and disregard of the people of New Ireland to their own forest resources,” stated the provincial government.
“The policy submission pointed out that there was poor regulation, monitoring and surveillance of the forestry sector with increasing environmental negligence and destruction.”
The NIPG said information obtained by Deputy Governor and Chairman for the Economic sector, Sammy Missen, shows that there are 10 logging companies currently operating in New Ireland with 5 more logging projects to commence in 2020 –without any knowledge or consultation with the New Ireland Government.
“It is critical that this investigative unit identify breaches in relevant government legislations and regulations within the forestry sector to expose weakness and lack of coordination, proving due diligence is not being adhered to by the logging companies,” said Missen.
The New Ireland Forestry Enforcement Unit will consist of forest industry stakeholders and will represent forest resource owners. The unit will be created within the powers of the New Ireland Government and will be consistent with the Forestry Act and other enabling legislation.
“We need a Forestry Industry regulator that is responsive to landowner and Government concerns regarding claims of illegal and non-compliant logging practices and is responsive to claims of devastation to the environment,” said Provincial Administrator Lamiller Pawut.
“We want action and support from the PNG Forest Authority to investigate the range of long standing concerns that have been raised with them and not be told to stop complaining and be thankful for the income generated by logging.
“We want an immediate comprehensive compliance audit of all logging operations in New Ireland and we demand the logging to be stopped immediately until such time as the comprehensive compliance audit is undertaken and the outcomes known.”
Sir Julius Chan said the declaration of war on logging is for a greater good, one that captures the plight and survival of the New Ireland people.
“What good are the economic gains if the environment is no longer conducive for people and biodiversity to live in? The United Nations clearly points out that land use, especially deforestation, is a direct contributor to human caused climate change.
“To put it plainly, the ‘air we breathe to survive’ is produced by these trees and the living environment around us. We have no choice but to practice more sustainable methods of logging, with our preference being selective logging as dictated under the Malagan Declaration and New Ireland Declaration. “Ultimately going forward we would rather local companies be engaged instead of foreigners coming in and plundering our resources. We can take the lead from Sweden and Finland. In Sweden, 60 percent of the forestry businesses are family run. In Finland, about 65 percent of the forestry businesses are in the hands of families.
“In both Sweden and Finland, no major foreign owned companies are involved in the logging or forestry business. All those engaged in forestry are citizens of the countries. Therefore, the benefits and profits from forestry go to the citizens, not to foreigners,” stated Governor Sir Julius.