Gov’t consultation process with land owners progresses well
The national government says it is working very closely with landowners on Guadalcanal to assist them complete the identification of tribal lands and their boundaries.
Enlightening the nation during his independence speech, Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo said the issue of the Honiara Town Boundary is under consultation.
PM Lilo said land is a sensitive issue in the country therefore his government has to ensure that proper consultations are done to avoid problems arising with land.
“…my Government has begun consultations to accommodate concerns of all parties before Cabinet endorses the work to physically mark the boundaries,” Lilo said.
He said despite the slow progress of things, he is hopeful the task will complete by the end of the year.
Adding the the pressing issue is how to efficiently allocate crown land in the urban areas and how to bring customary land into greater productivity.
But PM Lilo said the government through Parliament has amended the Land and Titles Act to create a land board representing key stakeholders which will be responsible for allocating crown land in the urban centers.
He said the creation of the land board, will deal with the issue of unfair allocation of crown lands.
Adding the changes to the land law will result in a major shift of power and pave the way for the fulfillment of the government policy of ensuring that ‘all public land is disposed through public tender’.
“It improves transparency and openness in the process of land allocation and to provide an improved administrative system that stimulates better customer service and set the platforms for a efficient and equitable allocation of land,” PM Lilo said.
He added that the Ministry of land is also assisting the Honiara City Council in reviewing the Local planning scheme and ensuring in the new scheme that high risk areas such as those along the Mataniko River are prohibited from human settlement to avoid loss of lives such as the one experienced during the recent April floods.
He said this allows the city to grow properly without creating spaces for informal or illegal settlements.
Meanwhile the PM said very good progress has been made so far on the matter of customary land mobilization in developing a holistic program which is hoped will be fully implemented next year.
Lilo said with the capability available in the PMO the program has been re-written into a proper long term program.
“It has incorporated desk reviews as well as information gathered from a trip by government officials to look at Maori models of land arrangements. These will inform wider discussion and agreements on a way forward that will begin in earnest under the new government,” Lilo added.
BY DANIEL NAMOSUAIA