By STARZA PAUL
An irritated Hela Governor Phillip Undialu told Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Parliament on Tuesday that peoples’ interest had not been represented in the recent signing of the Papua LNG.
“As resource owners we must negotiate for larger percentage from development of our resources than bargaining for much less than expected on the negotiation table with developers.
“We can’t negotiate for a percentage less than five per cent as in the case of Papua LNG when the developer and other stakeholders run away with much bigger slice of what we can get if negotiation are done well by the government,” said Mr Undialu.
Mr Undialu was very critical of the recent agreement signed between the French company Total and the PNG government where he claimed “peoples’ interest” was rolled under the carpet.
“Many of the deals and agreements signed by this government are not representing the interest of our people and I urged the government to address the people’s grievances well.
“Whose interest is this agreement if they don’t benefit 100 per cent from the development and extraction of their resources from their land,” he questioned.
Mr Undialu urged the government to revisit the terms of agreements signed by the developers and make sure that the landowners get bigger shares so that they can utilise these to develop and enrich their livelihoods rather than become spectators and beggars in their own land.
“We should have learned from past signing of agreements yet we continue to fail our people and I’m afraid we have set a bad precedence in the management and development of our resources,” he said.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill brushed this aside and said that the developers come with their own terms and this has to been considered when agreements are done.
“This government has been very responsible and it has represent well in the signing of agreements and we have made sure that our people can get as much as they could from these developments.
“We have to understand that our landowners don’t have such money as millions of kina to bargain and to buy large shares so we in our capacity as the government negotiate for a share which was much better in the case of Papua LNG than previous ones,” explained Mr O’Neill.