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PNG's forest sell-off revealed

Source:  Copyright 2012, Sydney Morning Herald
Date:  August 6, 2012
Byline:  Hamish McDonald
Original URL: Status ONLINE

PAPUA New Guinea's former Somare government introduced a controversial concession that allegedly accelerated deforestation of its tropical forests and gave away a potential $US23 billion in carbon-trading rights to foreign interests, according to a Greenpeace report.

The political time-bomb that awaits PNG's new government, in a report by Greenpeace Australia Pacific released today, gives details of how a new type of concession introduced by the Somare government in 2003 called Special Agricultural and Business Leases has hastened the deforestation of the country.

Immediately after he ousted predecessor Sir Michael Somare from the prime ministership last August, the present caretaker prime minister, Peter O'Neill, initiated a commission of inquiry into controversial forestry concessions granted over the previous decade when Sir Michael held power.

The commission's report was completed in May, just before recent elections, and will be tabled in ...

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