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Custom Land Officers for area councils

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This year, the Customary Land Management Office (CLMO) will appoint community and officers in different area councils across the country.

The Acting National Coordinator, John Nalwang, confirmed this after appointing an officer in Aniwa recently.

According to Mr. Nalwang, the CLMO national coordinator has the authority, under section 9(1) of the Customary Land Management (CLM) Act, to appoint community land officers. This is important for addressing land issues, especially in remote areas where CLMO services are not easily accessible.

The CLMO Act allows the national coordinator to appoint a community land officer only if requested.

This officer will be a public servant based on the island, serving as both a customary land officer and recording minutes in the Nakamal. CLMO has its officers based in the provincial headquarters, however, it is challenging for the officers to go to the island at times, therefore, the community land officers will be appointed to carry out the responsibilities of the CLMO officers.

While on Aniwa, CLMO officers also confirmed a refresher course was conducted for Aniwa Land Tribunal adjudicators, and Certificates were issued to certify that they are qualified to carry out their role effectively. These adjudicators underwent training in August 2021 but were not given the certificates.

The goal for the CLMO is to bring their services to people’s doorsteps, especially in remote areas, and help local councils resolve Nakamal land cases. Mr. Nalwang explained that if there is a disagreement or unfairness in a Nakamal decision on land, the adjudicators, who are trained under CLMO, can handle the case.

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