THE iTaukei Land Trust Board says the Department of Lands should wisely manage the 7 per cent land mass owned by the State.
General manager Alipate Qetaki made the comments in response to calls by Director for Lands Mosese Tagicakibau that unused native land would be invested in the Land Bank for development purposes.
"They need to learn to manage State lands effectively, proactively and for the benefit of the State first, before expanding," Mr Qetaki said.
"Looking after and addressing the landowners' interests and benefits is a huge role and responsibility," he said.
"The TLTB notes with interest the call by the Director for Lands for iTaukei landowners to deposit land into the Land Bank because almost all State lands have been leased out.
"There are statutory forums which the director can appropriately attend to raise this issue — for example, the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, provincial and tikina councils. The matter should also be raised with the iTaukei Affairs Board and iTaukei Land Trust Board."
Mr Qetaki said TLTB had raised issues with the Land Use Unit since its inception but most of their concerns remained unaddressed.
He said the State could lease directly from TLTB and sublease to its tenants.
"This is a sustainable option, which the State and the director should seriously consider," he said.