Petition on reliable shipping services to Lau to be tabled

Opposition MP Anare Jale in Parliament. Picture: SUPPLIED/PARLIAMENT NEWS

A PETITION on the provision of reliable, safe and affordable shipping services to the Lau Group will be tabled before the Parliament Standing Committee on Natural Resources for further scrutiny.

This came after Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau ruled that the petition be referred to the committee in Parliament yesterday.

Speaking on the petition, SODELPA MP Anare Jale said the petition was a culmination of years of frustration and grave concern from the Lauan people.

“In comparison to the shipping services to other groups in Fiji, the service to Lau is far inferior in relation to reliability, safety and affordability,” he said.

“Over the past financial years, the Government allocated around $500 million a year on roading, but allocated a negligible amount towards shipping services.”

Mr Jale claimed the two current Government vessels servicing the group were unsafe.

“The Government can no longer put to risk the lives of Lauans, by subjecting them to ride on these two floating coffins,” he said.

Responding to the motion, Minister for Infrastructure Jone Usamate said servicing the Lau Group would be uneconomical.

“We are working on improving shipping franchises to the Lau Group and this is something we have been improving in the past,” he said.

“I understand the ships to the group are small and we are trying to develop shipping services in these areas.”

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