SUNCITY

Group Calls For Change In Resource Laws

A call for reform of laws covering the use of natural resources was made by the group, Itaukei Professionals, during their presentation to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Natural Resources
05 May 2015 14:02
Group Calls For Change In Resource Laws

A call for reform of laws covering the use of natural resources was made by the group, Itaukei Professionals, during their presentation to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Natural Resources yesterday.

During his presentation group leader Peremo Caginivula strongly raised his concerns on the laws covering the rights of iTaukei landowners on natural resources such as gravel, soil, timber and minerals.

He specifically pointed out that the current laws needed to be reviewed, scrutinised and changed.

Mr Caginivula pointed out that currently Royalty was paid to landowners for the use of their communal rights over gravel, soil, timber and minerals.

“Why can’t Government facilitate landowners to enter into business rather than simply giving gravel for third parties to make profits on?” he said.

“Royalty is unfair and I call this committee to suggest amendment or modifications on payment of royalty,” he said.

He added that the iTaukei Land Trust Act (TLTA) is against iTaukei landowners and needs to be reviewed as well.

“Section 8 of the TLTA, the TLTB is not mandated to seek their (landowners’) consent to develop their land so TLTB under section 8 of the TLTA requires under law your consent as a land owner.

“This is a clear contradiction of section 4(1) and is a clear contradiction of the mandatory requirement of ‘informed and prior consent of indigenous landowners’ enshrined under the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People and ILO Convention 169.

Other issues such as the waiver of fishing rights being uncertain and lease dealings to be venture-based involving resource owners were suggested during the one-hour presentation.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and Natural Disaster Management Joeli Cawaki at the end of the presentation said there was a need to change the belief of iTaukei as being resource-rich and cash poor to both the positive idea of being resourcefully rich with its equal amount of payment.

Feedback: stella.moresio@fijisun.com.fj

 




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