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Minister Masono: Compliance of Lands processes critical  

The Bougainville Land Board held its Inaugural meeting from the 12th to the 23rd of September in Buka.

The Board deliberated on a total of 94 allotments across North, Central and South Bougainville regions which saw more than 300 interested people applying for these allotments.

ABG Minister for Lands Hon Amanda Masono provided this update in the recent sitting of the Bougainville House of Representatives.

The Bougainville Land Board was established following the transfer of Land Administration powers from the National Department of Lands to the ABG Department of Lands in June 2021.

Minister Masono explained that the Bougainville Land Board is a statutory body under the Department and plays a critical role in all land related matters including state land zoning, re-zonings, subdivisions, consolidation, allocation and granting, forfeiture and transfers of leases.  

“Any state land allocation outside the Department of Lands’ processes whether by so-called landowners or former traditional landowners is illegal,” she stated.

Minister Masono also called on all ABG Members to help the government by educating their constituents about the land processes that are in place.

“There are challenges and issues on illegal occupation of state land by Bougainvilleans who are our constituency citizens and I appeal to each Constituency Member to educate our people about the processes we have in place and start to respect and comply with these processes.”

Speaking on the draft Bougainville Land Bill, Minister Masono updated the House that the bill is at its second draft stage and announced that the Bill is undergoing a change that will see a split in the Land Policy into two separate legislations; one addressing alienated land and the other addressing customary land in Bougainville.

“Policy and legislation is just one part of it; the technical aspect of land we have to get right because there is only one universal measurement when it comes to surveying land and making it available for development purposes,” Minister Masono explained.

“Making land available for development requires that we deal with eight other national legislations dealing with land including the Land Tenure Conversion Act, Valuers Act, Surveyors Act, ILG Act and other related Acts,” Masono said. 

The Bougainville Alienated Land Bill is expected to be passed in the November 2022 parliament session while the Bougainville Customary Land Bill will be passed thereafter.

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