Committee To Address SABL

The National Author

LANDS and Physical Planning Minister Justin Tkatchenko has announced a Customary Land Advisory Committee to deal with Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABL) once and for all.
Tkatchenko said SABL was a long outstanding issue and one that was advertised all around the world.
He said the committee was a National Executive Council decision.
“It is a NEC decision that was handed down under the previous minister and I am now implementing it because I see it as one of the most important things of the department that needs to be rectified immediately,” he said.
“SABL has been a major issue for our people of PNG, especially our customary landowners, and has been causing our people to go to court to protect their rights to their land.”
The committee will hold a weekly meeting to get issues resolved.
The advisory committee will assess all SABLs to ensure the legitimate existing leases are secured, Tkatchenko said.
He said there were 175 SABLs that were recommended by a commission of inquiry and about 400 smaller ones issued to small stakeholders.
“At the end of the day, it’s all those ones that have caused controversy would be assessed to see if they would be cancelled or not,” Tkatchenko said.
“This is the tip of the iceberg. It’s just the start and there are a lot of things that are outstanding on customary land.”
He said the committee would look into the findings of the commission of inquiry and will finalise the findings and assessing them and making sure that they find a solution.
No more SABLs are being issued.
“Those that are illegal will be cancelled and those that are genuine will continue,” the minister said.
“We will review every single one (SABL). We don’t want to scare off investors that are doing the right thing by the landowners.”