Special Agriculture and Business Lease

UN challenges PNG govt over illegal land grabbing

More than 50,000 square kilometres of indigenous land has been seized using the illegal agriculture leases, as exposed in a 2015 Commission of Inquiry.

Despite many claims it will cancel the leases, the PNG government has been slow to take any steps to reverse the land grab and is still allowing foreign companies to use the stolen land for logging and oil palm planting.

Leaders urged to support call to cancel all SABL leases

The call also goes to provincial and district administrations to take up the responsibility of protecting the people in affected SABL areas.

Customary landowner Anna Sipona from Malmal Village in Pomio District, East New Britain Province says every time they seek help and advice from the district administration and provincial government they get turned down.

Sipona said these government agencies and the local leaders are supposed to advise them on the right thing to do and help them get their concerns through to the Government.

SABL having direct impact on environment

Sipona comes from Malmal Village in west Pomio, East New Britain Province where logging has exploited their environment.

She explained that their forest is gone under SABL and the people in her village live as if they don’t own land.

The land in Malmal is under a 99-year lease agreement and they’ve been told by the developers that the land was now a state land.

Sipona highlighted that their drinking water and fresh water creeks have been contaminated because there are no buffer zones to protect them.

Court favours landowners in Sepik SABL case

The customary land described as Special Agriculture and Business Lease (SABL) portion 144c was granted to the Sepik Oil Palm Plantation back in 2008 for development but after a long court battle between customary landowners and developers, the Supreme Court agreed with the National Court’s decision to revoke the SABL.

Planting of oil palm, and any associated activities in relation to oil palm planting, construction of any infrastructure, logging road, loading of logs onto ships, and employing of labour are now illegal.