More and more rural and remote communities in New Ireland are getting access to cheap sawn timber for housing from Governor Sir Julius Chan’s ground breaking Ward Level Projects policy as five more timber mills were landed for Matalai and Konoagil council wards.
In the latest shipment on 07 January committee officials of wards 1,3 and 4 of Konoagil and wards 3 and 5 of Matalai LLG took delivery of their timber mills landed at Muliama wharf in southern New Ireland, a remote shipping route serviced by Rabaul-based Vanmak Shipping.
The timber mills project answers the real needs and aspirations of these rural communities that have trees on traditional lands but could not downstream to sawn timber but that is a thing of the past.
They could now get cheap sawn timber on their front yard and capitalize on the subsidized roofing iron under the Roof Over Heads policy to erect their own permanent homes.
The CEO responsible for Government Subsidies, Mactil Bais, said since April 2018 a total of 30 timber mills complete with chain saws and winches worth K1.3 million have been delivered to 30 council wards with the southern-most Konoagil LLG getting the largest order of ten timber mills having also the largest remaining tracts of natural forest resource in New Ireland.
Bais explained that the LLG wards receive annual grants directly from the Provincial Government of K40,000 to the three remote Councils of Murat, Tanir and Konoagil and the remaining seven Councils get K30,000. Councilors under their WDCs make own decision for funding of priority projects and 30 of them opted to buy timber mills within their ward plan to provide sawn timber for rural housing project.
To equip the wards with skills and safety drills, Bais has called up two officials from each of the 30 wards with timber mills for week long training run by Farmset Ltd where the mills were purchased.
Governor Sir J said he is very pleased with these council wards for their ability to plan and provide within their budget for the good and well being of their people and housing would deliver two basic needs of life –housing and clean drinking water, a combination of roofing iron derived from the Roof Over Heads policy and timber milling from the Ward Level Projects policy.
“We have done great for our people with the wards setting own priorities and help me address the real needs of our people in remote and distant areas so they too can
feel the embrace of my Government where we profess in the Malagan Declaration 1 and 2 and the New Ireland Declaration that, “The further you are, the more wecare,” said Governor Sir J.
“The Ward Committees set own project priorities and resolutions based on their annual direct grants from my Government amounting to K4.7 million annually but I have beefed up the allocation in 2019 by another K2 million with authority for the Council Presidents to spend K200, 000 each to support the wards on any shortfall they may face in their annual budgets.”
Altogether the Government has bought 30 complete sawmill sets with chain saws and winches for individual wards in eight LLGs for the sum of K1.3 million under the Ward Projects roll-out program.