Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Woodlark islanders to reclaim their customary land status from the State

THE people of Woodlark Island in the Milne Bay Province will have their land returned to them.

The whole Woodlark Island is an alienated land which means it is State land.

Woodlark Island has a population of over 6,000 people from eight different clans.

Minister for Lands and Physical Planning Benny Allan said the people have been living on State land and they belong to that island.

In 2014, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill directed the Department through Minister Allan to work on the Woodlark land and solve the issue and try to return the land back to the people. 

Allan said in Parliament today that it’s a long outstanding issue and was happy to inform the people that declaration of the land has been gazetted.

“We will now formally do a letter to O'Neill informing him that the declaration of that land has been done and the land will now be returned back to the customary land owners,” Allan said.

Allan said the department has started the process and has identified the eight clans.

They’ll assist to divide the land between the clans and have them registered under customary land registration through the Incorporated Land Groups (ILGs).

The Governor of Milne Bay will formally announce to the people that the land now has returned to the customary landowners.

Source: PNG Loop/Port Moresby/2016.

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