PNG GOVERNMENT DISMISSES LOGGING ALLEGATIONS

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Aug. 8) - Papua New Guinea's government has dismissed allegations of corruption and illegal logging in its forestry industry.

The denial comes in the wake of a report released by the Australian Conservation Foundation and a PNG environmental law firm.

[PIR editor’s note: See the PIR story about the reports findings.]

Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Josh Medows says the report documents new and alarming evidence of extreme human rights abuses and illegal logging in Papua New Guinea.

"There's a lot of disgruntlement from landowners that shows people unhappy that after years of their land being logged they still haven't seen the benefits they were promised at the start," he said.

Our correspondent in Port Moresby, Steve Marshall, says the report is the sixth in as many years released by different organisations.

Its release has angered PNG forestry minister Patrick Pruaitch, who says the forestry sector is a key contributor to PNG's economy and directly employs more than 10,000 people.

August 9, 2006

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

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