News Southern

Plans to take back Woodlark Island announced

Despite a court decision declaring the ownership of Woodlark Island to a foreign company, Samarai Murua MP Isi Henry Leonard has moved to take back the land.

MP Leonard gave his assurance to locals that the matter is now a subject of concern, and will be fought legally to give the ownership back to the local people. This includes portion 138, 139 and 140.

Over 60 thousand hectares of land was given to a foreign company through a court decision in late 2019.

In a recent visit to Guasopa Station, the local MP reiterated his support to continue the land battle. “We will go through the legal system to restore the ownership to its rightful landowners”, said MP Leonard.

With a mining operation now into its construction phase, the Samarai Murua District Development Authority is pushing for locals to have titles to their land. MP Leonard says this is vital before any development takes place on the island. “The District will help process NID Cards, and also register ILG’s” said the local MP.

The Woodlark Island saga has been ongoing, the matter also reached the floor of Parliament last year. With the foreign investor now owning nearly 85 % of Woodlark Island,

Attorney General and Deputy Prime Minister Davies Steven says legal process must be followed and the land must be returned to the locals.” Our position as Government remains, the land must be given back to the customary landowners” said DPM Steven.

By Jack Lapauve Jr, EMTV – Port Moresby

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