PM’s stern warning to ‘individuals blocking roads’

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has issued a stern warning to individuals who might seek to profit from road closures and public inconvenience.

“I am concerned about individuals blocking roads and demanding unnecessary compensation, and not allowing Government officials to attend to urgent work,” said the PM.

“This is causing serious public inconvenience, and we cannot afford to have individuals holding the public and the Government to ransom.

“The law clearly states that there is a 40-metre corridor for national highways, and this is public land that should not be obstructed.

“These corridors will now be strictly enforced through the introduction of laws with strong penalties.

“This includes long prison terms for individuals who knowingly abuse public property, and who prevent Government officials from discharging their duties. This is especially important during times of natural disasters.”

The Prime Minister said the necessary changes to enforce the 40-metre public space will be taken to Parliament when it meets in January 24.

He has further called on businesses to refrain from making payments to landowners in order to remove road blockages.

“Payments to remove blockages only encourage repeat behaviour and copycats, and leads to more problems at a later date.

“I appreciate the good intention of businesses, but payments outside the normal checks and balances of Government processes often lead to long-term problems.”

The PM said maintaining open highways is essential for communities around the nation and is a priority for the Government.

“The highways are more than just roads, but are lifelines for millions of our people.

“They are lifelines for small businesses, for families trying to get their goods to market, and a lifeline for all people who have jobs that depend on open supply chains.”

(The landslip at the Guo area, just outside of Kundiawa in Chimbu Province, last week)

Press release