Negotiate, don't stop Lombrum work

WORK on redeveloping the Lombrum Naval Base in Manus should not be interrupted if there are issues in the existing memorandum of understanding.
Negotiate, don't  stop Lombrum work Negotiate, don't  stop Lombrum work Negotiate, don't  stop Lombrum work Negotiate, don't  stop Lombrum work Negotiate, don't  stop Lombrum work

Gilbert Toropo

Staff Reporter

This was said by Defence Force Commander Major-General Gilbert Toropo, who was responding to Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin's call on the government to stop the redevelopment of the facility until the memorandum of understanding was reviewed.
Benjamin wants a new memorandum of understanding set by national and provincial governments, along with an advocate for the developer - either the Australian or the US government, The National newspaper reported.
Toropo said if there were anything missing or had been overlooked in the MoU between the Australian Defence Force and the PNGDF, it should be addressed professionally in a roundtable discussion by stakeholders.
 Stopping the progress of the work on the facility would be irresponsible, Toropo said.
"The parties, stakeholders, can get together in a roundtable meeting and discuss the missing things in the memorandum of understanding."
Benjamin said in a statement that proper consultation should be done by all stakeholders, taking into account the interest of all parties before the redevelopment phase could start.
He said the MoU had not captured the interest of indigenous landowners of Lombrum, the surrounding communities, local level government and the provincial government.
Benjamin added that the MoU also lacked compliance as it had not gone through the Department of Foreign Affairs and the State Solicitors under their legal mandate to ensure constitutional compliance.



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