News Papua New Guinea

Lands Dept to stakeout land for displaced Garden Hills settlers

The Department of Lands is mobilizing state land to resettle displaced settlers of Garden Hills who are bona fide tax-paying citizens of the country.

This includes those who have lived on their settlement properties for more than two generations and are self-sustained through some form of economic means.

Prime Minister, James Marape gave this assurance when he was provided an update on what the Government is doing to address the displacement of evicted persons at Garden Hills settlement.

The Prime Minister said his directive is now with the Minister for Lands to identify a piece of land to relocate the displaced settlers.

This will be done in collaboration with the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) which has been working on a settlement-to-suburb programme over the last decade.

“From the outset, let me be clear on this – the Government discourages settlements or the movement of people into land that is customary and/or untitled State land. I would like to appeal to Papua New Guineans from refraining from doing so when you are moving into urban areas,” said PM Marape.

“I have issued instruction to the Lands Minister not to issue any more large parcels of land to individuals unless investment is justified. We will reserve them and work with the city municipalities here in Port Moresby, Lae and other centres to ensure we properly plan our towns and cities for proper suburbs to take place.”

The PM clarified that those who have no means of supporting themselves and are unable to justify their residence in the city, would be asked to return home to their respective districts.

The Prime Minister has given his assurance to Papua New Guineans in urban areas employed and paying some form of income tax, from minimum wages to fixed salaries, that the Lands Department is now working to identify and distribute land properly so people living on untitled land can be allowed the opportunity to own titled properties.

This will be in line with Government policy to improve housing and manage settlements better and incorporate them into town planning and urban development.

 “I appeal to our people not to squatter or move into land that is not yours and untitled.”

“For anyone who is coming into the city, do not pick up a block that is untitled or on customary land.

Refrain from doing this because this sort of incidents, such as the one at Garden Hills, can happen again where you will be asked to pull down your property. The Government is now working to unbundle State land to issue to employers to link employees and others to proper land-home packages in cities and urban areas,” PM Marape said.

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