Five years have now passed since the alarm was first raised about the alienation of huge areas of customary land in Papua New Guinea through the grant of Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs). As if to commemorate this anniversary, the PNG government has finally released the reports of two of the three commissioners asked to investigate the SABL scandal in July 2011. In my last post on this subject, back in August last year, I declared that these reports would ‘shortly’ be tabled in PNG’s national parliament, but in PNG, a ‘short’ time or distance can sometimes be quite long. For more than a year stakeholders in PNG’s land grab debate have been speculating about the reasons for the long delay in the completion and release of these reports; wondering what recommendations they might contain, and asking what Peter O’Neill and his government would do with those recommendations once they were made public. [Read more…]
Colin Filer is an anthropologist and Director, Resources Environment & Development Group, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU.