PNG OPPOSITION SUPPORTS CUT IN LOG EXPORT TAXES

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March 18, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The Papua New Guinea Opposition has thrown its support behind the logging industry for a cut in log export taxes.

In his budget speech last week, the Treasurer said the Government had not given in to intense pressure from the industry, which is dominated by Malaysian logging companies.

Radio Australia's Sean Dorney reports:

"Delivering the Opposition's reply to the budget, PNG's Shadow Treasurer, Bart Philemon, claimed the logging industry was in severe trouble.

"Mr. Philemon said 13,000 people were directly employed by logging companies, while 200,000 landowners received royalties. 'These figures,' he said, 'will be drastically reduced by 75% if nothing positive is done to the industry by the end of this year.'

"PNG's Shadow Treasurer said the Opposition was demanding the Government give a positive response to the industry's request for tax relief."

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