Australia focus on customary land rights in the region

When they are hell bent on destroying Aboriginal Land rights over here who would be foolish enough to believe that they would protect customary land rights in the Pacific, look at the NT invasion and go yarn with Uncle Chappy bout what barrick gold is doing in his country.

the crudd gubbaments Port Morseby declaration was ment to be Australia's new relationship and partnership in the Pacific, kevin (C)rudd was a career diplomat so he knows the art of dressing political shit and making it look sweet, when basically the agenda in the Pacific hasn't changed one bit, just the approach. Same old neo/colonising, land theiving crapitalist neo liberal bastards. Exactly the agenda that was pushed at Apec & the g20, and c(rudds) declaration at Port Moresby certainly makes clear their commitment to neo-liberalism in our region. The grassroots resistance to this has been silenced ruthlessly and by the complicity of puppet governments, academics & ngo's, who sadly were once at the forefront of the resistance to this agenda in the Pacific

At stake for us in the Pacific are our very survival and independence as peoples, the same stakes for the past 200 or so years. Looking at the experience of our Mexican brothers and sisters during the implementation of nafta, we see as in the Chiapa's this neo liberal agenda speaks nothing to us and our humanity in the Pacific, it is at odds with our world-view and desecrates the relationship we have with our land & oceans, left in trust for us from our ancestors for our generations to come. The resistance and the struggle against neo liberalism in South America bears great resonance for us in the Pacific, we have our own history of struggle that has to be reignited across the Pacific if we are to survive with dignity into the next century and beyond.

A Pacific regional infrastructure facility worth $127 million (US$119
million) over four years has been budgeted for work on transport,
water and energy projects.

Wed, 14 May 2008

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA ---- Australia's aid budget aims to deal with
customary land rights and improving government services in the region,
Radio Australia reports.

A Pacific regional infrastructure facility worth $127 million (US$119
million) over four years has been budgeted for work on transport,
water and energy projects.

Over four years, Australia will spend $107 million (US$100.5 million)
on improving the work of government departments and public servants in
the Pacific.

On the sensitive issue of customary land rights, $54 million (US$50.7
million) would be spent over four years on a programme described as
protecting land rights.

The aim would be to promote economic development while reducing the
potential for conflict over land issues. Australia would support work
on planning, surveying and valuing land.

The budget shows the continuing growth of the Australian Federal
Police in the region, with $75 million (US$70.5 million) to be spent
over four years on policing in the South Pacific - particularly on
police help to PNG, Samoa and Nauru.

Port Moresby Declaration

4. The Pacific has significant natural resources - minerals, timber and marine resources. Managing them wisely and sustainably is a challenge for the region.

9. The Pacific Partnerships for Development will be a mechanism to provide better development outcomes for the Pacific Island nations. These Partnerships will embrace:

• improving economic infrastructure and enhancing local employment
possibilities through infrastructure and broad-based growth;
• enhancing private sector development, including better access to
• achieving quality, universal basic education;
• improving health outcomes through better access to basic health services; and
• enhancing governance, including the role of civil society, and the role of non- government organisations in basic service delivery.

13. Australia is also committed to linking the economies of the Pacific island nations to Australia and New Zealand and to the world, including through pursuing a region- wide free trade agreement and enhancing other private sector development opportunities. This will help to secure a sustainable and more prosperous future for the region.

15. Australia will also work to increase its cooperation with other donor countries and organisations, and international financial institutions such as the World Bank, including through more coordinated delivery of development assistance programs across the region and joint programs where feasible.


Updated May 12, 2008 15:59:03

A controversial land bill in Samoa has been amended to exclude
customary land.

Samoan Government officials say the Land Titles Registration Bill, due
for its third reading within weeks, has now been amended following
advice from the Attorney-General.

Opponents of the new bill had been angry that the government appeared
to have broken a promise that the new bill - which will change land
registration from a deeds to a title system - would affect customary land.

They say the proposed legislation contained several references to
customary land.

Customary land is sacrosanct in Samoa and there are constitutional
protections for it, which include a requirement that any proposed
change be put to a referendum and gain at least a two-thirds
supporting vote.

A spokeswoman for the opposing group accused the government of seeking
to use the earlier version of the bill to charge rates and taxes on
customary land which traditional owners could not afford.

There was also concern that the government was under pressure to free
up land for development.

The government says the revised legislation is intended to make the
administration of titles more straightforward, and that the changes
will exclude customary land.

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