National Land Development Program set to expand cities and towns

By Theckla Gunga –  EMTV, Port Moresby

The National Government is looking at expanding the main towns and cities in Papua New Guinea through the National Land Development Program. Using the Land Reform, the government will bring customary land into the Provincial Physical Planning areas under the Physical Planning Act, and use it for urban development.   

Discussions are currently underway to expand Mount Hagen, Kokopo and Alotau. The decision to expand towns and cities, follows the increase in rural to urban migration, and the demand for more government services..

According to research by the National Research Institute, most state land in provincial capitals have established services or businesses already operating on them, leaving no more land for further investments.

In Western Highlands, the NLDP team, consisting of Lands and Treasury Departments, Office of the Chief of Justice, and other respective state bodies, are eyeing the Kum Kopi Local Level Government in Hagen Open, to expand Mt Hagen. In Milne Bay, the Toudikwa Incorporated Landowner Group was already brought into Alotau’s Physical Planning Area for allowing the customary land to be on lease.    

In a number of discussions between government officers, businesses houses and customary landowners, NRI Director Dr. Charles Yala emphasised the examples of bad town planning in PNG. Dr. Yala identified Port Moresby in the National Capital District and Hoskins in West New Britain, as examples of poor town planning.

“We have residential houses becoming lodges or guest houses especially in Port Moresby’s Boroko area, but the environment doesn’t carter for that,” Dr. Yala said.

He explained that the poor town planning has forced people to build residential houses on industrial zones or vice versa, and NLDP will be trying to avoid these mistakes in the physical planning areas it creates for other provincial towns.

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