Violence ‘clearly connected’ with LNG frustrations

For the past three years, there have been a series of incidents of violence, sabotage and kidnapping that are clearly connected with frustrations and discontent about the LNG project.

This was outlined in Jubilee Australia’s new report titled: “On Shaky Ground: PNG LNG and the Consequences of Development Failure”.

“The report describes six of these incidents. So far, they have all remained relatively contained, and loss of life has been minimal,” reads the report.

“However, since August 2016, the violence has escalated as a more militant younger generations of leaders in Hela begin to flex their muscles. A worrying pattern is developing where the Government appears to be paying off protesters to at least temporarily alleviate discontent.”

In terms of royalties, the report said although some royalties have been paid to communities near the LNG plant, the report finds that, four years after the gas has started to flow, no royalties have yet been paid to Hela communities.

“This appears partly to do with the fact that landowner identification and vetting has not been completed.

“Although the companies and the Australian backers of the project argue that landowner identification and vetting is the responsibility of the government of PNG, warnings were made that such landowner vetting would be complicated, and should take place before proceeding.

“The companies and the backers nevertheless proceeded to ignore these warnings and made the decision to begin the project.

“It remains unknown whether trust fund accounts holding the royalty monies are secure and have not been depleted in any way.”

This is the first independent comprehensive report of the social impacts of the PNG LNG pipeline since it started operating in 2014.

It follows the publication last month of an economic analysis of the pipeline, ‘Double or Nothing: The Broken Economic Promises of PNG LNG’.

Press release