NEWS

Bua Bauxite Spotlight

Cabinet Ministers clarified several issues of public interest in Parliament yesterday during the question and answer session. Rehabilitation for bauxite mines First up was Lands and Ministers Resources Minister Mere
09 Dec 2014 09:35
Bua Bauxite Spotlight
From left: Deputy Speaker Isikeli Nadalo, Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment Parveen Kumar, Minister for Land and Mineral Resources Mere Vuniwaqa and Minister for Health Jone Usamate waiting outside Parliament yesterday. Photo: Rama

Cabinet Ministers clarified several issues of public interest in Parliament yesterday during the question and answer session.

Rehabilitation for bauxite mines

First up was Lands and Ministers Resources Minister Mere Vuniwaqa who was asked about rehabilitation plans for the bauxite mine in Nawailevu Village in Bua. The question was posted by Opposition parliamentarian Josefa Dulakiverata.

Mrs Vuniwaqa said, the rehabilitation plans were based upon an environmental impact assessment report (EIA) conducted in 2010. Part of the EIA recommendations, which are being implemented include planting 30,000 pine seedlings in the affected areas and also legumes and other vegetables. She said there was no conspiracy about the removal of top soil from the area explaining it was the usual mining process in cases where there was high bauxite content in the soil.

Plans for road upgrading in Kadavu

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Pio Tikoduadua gave a comprehensive answer on plans to build new roads in Kadavu next year. He was replying to a question from Ratu Sela Nanovo from the Opposition bench.

He said the money spent on Kadavu would come from a pool of $30 million, allocated in the 2015 National Budget.   He said the roads in Kadavu would be maintained by one of Government’s main contractors, Fulton Hogan and the Ministry of Rural Development.

One of the main objectives would also be to build capacity and localise labour as much as possible, he said.

The Ministry of Infrastructure is also stockpiling 10,000 cubic metres of gravel in preparation for the projects next year.

Benefits of free education

The Government was committed to removing all obstacles to free education, said Mahendra Reddy.  The Minister was responding to a question from Government backbencher, Brij Lal.

Mr Reddy said that with the increased allocations in the 2014 National Budget to support free education there were 1869 additional students in the primary and secondary school system. In response to a question from the Leader of the Opposition, Ro Teimumu Kepa, Mr Reddy said any extra-curricular activities had to be approved by the ministry especially if there were financial costs involved.

However, he said schools should be encouraged to improve the total learning environment.

He said the ministry was committed to the improvement of the quality of education, with increased allocations for teacher training, one learning device per child and infrastructure development.

Overseas sports coaches

Overseas coaches were necessary for the transfer of skills to local counterparts. Minister for Sports, Laisenia Tuitubou, said that the Fiji Sports Commission was responsible for planning this transfer.

He said, in a response to questions from Government backbencher Samu Vunivalu, that the recruitment of overseas coaches for sports like rugby was taken in response to the poor performance of our national teams.

In response to questions from the Leader of the Opposition, Ro Teimumu Kepa and Opposition MP, Viliame Gucake, he said the Fiji Sports Commission was committed to preparing our national teams for the Rio Olympics in Brazil in 2016.

Feedback: josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 

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