Independent state of papua new guinea




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Land Act 1996

No. 45 of 1996.



Land Act 1996.
Certified on: / /20 .

INDEPENDENT STATE OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA.

No. 45 of 1996.

Land Act 1996.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS.

1. Compliance with constitutional requirements.


2. Interpretation.
3. Application of Act to interests under repealed Land Act.
4. National Title to Land.
5. Declaration of State Land.
6. Interpretation.
7. Modes of acquisition.
8. Rights that may be acquired.
9. Involvement of Land Titles Commission or Land Court where Customary Land acquired.
10. Acquisition of Customary Land by agreement.
11. Acquisition of Customary Land for the grant of special agricultural and business lease.
12. Compulsory Acquisition.
13. Notice to treat.
14. Conversion of interests into claims for compensation.
15. Notice to owner.
16. Registration of notification.
17. Powers of persons under disability, etc.
18. Application of purchase money.
19. Jurisdiction in relation to Customary Land.
20. Order as to rights and basis of compensation.
21. Making, acceptance and rejection of claims.
22. Proceedings where claim rejected.
23. General principles.
24. Value of land in certain cases.
25. Agreement before acquisition as to compensation.
26. Agreement after acquisition as to compensation.
27. Submission of claim to arbitration.
28. Interest on compensation.
29. Revocation of agreement to arbitrate.
30. Proceedings inter partes for determination of compensation.
31. Ex-parte proceedings by Minister.
32. Payment of compensation determined.
33. Mortgage moneys barred by Statute of Limitations.
34. Rights of Mortgagee on compulsory acquisition.
35. Particulars of mortgages.
36. Interest, etc, paid after date of acquisition.
37. Court may order stay of proceedings under mortgage.
38. Separate rights of mortgagee and mortgagor to determination.
39. Compensation to mortgagee.
40. Deduction of mortgagee’s compensation from mortgagor’s compensation.
41. Execution of discharge of mortgage debt.
42. Rights of Mortgagor where mortgagee does not claim.
43. Saving of certain rights of mortgagee.
44. Payment of compensation.
45. Payment of Compensation into Court.
46. Order that claimant entitled to compensation.
47. Interest on compensation.
48. Disposal of resumed land.
49. Reservation from lease or further lease.
50. Trustees for reserved land.
51. Incorporation of trustees.
52. Special purposes lease to be granted over reserved land.
53. Effects of reservation of leased land.
54. Declaration of land as Aerodromes.
55. Establishment of the Land Board.
56. Oath and Affirmation of Office.
57. Functions of the Land Board.
58. Meetings of the Land Board, reports, etc.
59. Sittings of Land Board in divisions.
60. Inquiries, etc, by Land Board.
61. Protection of members of Land Board.
62. Appeals.
63. Reference or reports to Minister.
64. Alienation of Government Land.
65. Grant of State Leases.
66. State Leases not to be inconsistent with lease from customary landowners.
67. State leases not to be inconsistent with zoning, physical planning, etc.
68. Advertisement of lands available for leasing.
69. Duty to advertise State Leases.
70. How applications for State Leases to be made.
71. As a general rule, the Land Board shall consider all applications for State Leases.
72. Power of Minister to grant State Lease direct.
73. Dealing with Tenders.
74. Publication of names of successful applicants, etc., in the National Gazette.
75. Notice to successful applicants.
76. Acceptance of terms and conditions of proposed leases and execution of State Leases.
77. Extinguishment of granted application.
78. Revocation of extinguishment.
79. Procedure after extinguishment.
80. Person entitled to State Lease dying before a State Lease is issued to him.
81. Commencement of State Leases.
82. Reservations, conditions, etc, in leases.
83. Rent.
84. Improvements on land to be leased.
85. Insurance on improvements not paid for.
86. Maintenance of improvements.
87. Grant of Agricultural lease.
88. Improvement conditions.
89. Grant of Pastoral lease.
90. Stocking conditions.
91. Inquiry into depasturing of stock.
92. Grant of Business and Residence Leases.
93. Terms of Leases.
94. Specification of classes of business.
95. Land in physical planning areas.
96. Grant of Mission Lease.
97. Purpose of Mission Lease.
98. Rent.
99. Leases of land on which there are Government-owned buildings.
100. Grant of special purposes leases.
101. Special purposes lease of land in physical planning area.
102. Grant of special agricultural and business leases.
103. Interpretation.
104. Urban Development Leases to be granted over land in physical planning areas suitable for Subdivision.
105. Conditions precedent to land being advertised for subdivision.
106. Grant of Urban Development Lease of Government Land.
107. Urban subdivision by lessee of a State Lease.
108. Terms and conditions of Urban Development Leases.
109. Final proposal for Subdivision and full planning permission.
110. Surrender of land in the Subdivision and Grant of new leases.
111. Declaration of land by Minister.
112. Certain provisions not to apply.
113. Minister may grant lease.
114. Notification of grant.
115. Effective date of grant.
116. Remission and postponement of rent.
117. Improvements.
118. Period of lease.
119. Variation of purposes, relaxation of covenants, etc.
120. Payment for improvements on expiration of lease.
121. Surrender of State Lease.
122. Forfeiture of State Lease.
123. Revocation of Forfeiture.
124. Fee instead of forfeiture.
125. Grant of licence.
126. Grant of licence over resumed land.
127. Application of Part XVII.
128. Approval of controlled dealings and permitted dealings.
129. Withholding of approval in certain cases.
130. Approval of Subdivision.
131. Consolidation of Leases.
132. Disposal of Customary Land.
133. Declaration of Customary Land.
134. Protection of interests of Customary Landowners.
135. Service on Customary Landowners.
136. Inspection of land subject to improvement conditions.
137. Power to examine land.
138. Temporary occupation.
139. Taking of materials, etc, from adjacent land.
140. Fencing of land temporarily occupied.
141. Compensation for damage.
142. Appeal to National Court.
143. Power of Departmental Head to delegate.
144. Trespass, etc, on certain land.
145. Unlawful occupation of Government Land and Customary Land.
146. Unlawful occupation of Government Land and Customary Land.
147. Obstruction of authorized persons.
148. Interpretation.
149. Declared schemes.
150. Disruptive conduct.
151. Compulsory acquisition of State Lease.
152. Order to send people back.
153. Interpretation.
154. Application of this Part.
155. Adjoining owner, etc, to contribute to dividing fence.
156. Dividing fences on neighbouring lands.
157. Repair of dividing fences.
158. Cost of repair of dividing fence.
159. Expenses of dividing fence where State Land alienated, etc.
160. Occupier may recover costs from owner.
161. Notices.
162. Agreements as to dividing fences.
163. Jurisdiction of Court.
164. Mode of recovering cost of fencing.
165. Recoverable costs of fencing.
166. Fencing costs may be levied by distress, etc.
167. Future entitlement to estate tail.
168. Survey fees.
169. Services of notices, etc.
170. Inquiries, etc, by Minister.
171. Recovery of money due to the State.
172. Interest on outstanding moneys.
173. Payment, etc, by the State good discharge.
174. Minister may approve forms.
175. Regulations.
176. Repeal.
177. Applications, matters, etc, not to abate.
178. Appeals, actions, etc, not to abate.
179. Officers.
180. References to repealed Acts.
181. Difficulties with transitional provisions.
182. Town Subdivision Lease to be known as Urban Development Lease.

INDEPENDENT STATE OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA.

AN ACT


entitled

Land Act 1996,

Being an Act relating to land, to consolidate and amend legislation relating to land, and to repeal various statutes, and for related purposes.



PART I. – PRELIMINARY.

1. COMPLIANCE WITH CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS.

(1) This Act, to the extent that it regulates or restricts a right or freedom referred to in Subdivision III.3.C of the Constitution (Qualified Rights), namely–

(a) the right to freedom from arbitrary search and entry conferred by Section 44 of the Constitution; and
(b) the right to freedom of employment conferred by Section 48 of the Constitution; and
(c) the right to privacy conferred by Section 49 of the Constitution; and
(d) the right to freedom of information conferred by Section 51 of the Constitution; and
(e) the right to freedom of movement conferred by Section 52 of the Constitution,

is a law that is made for the purpose of giving effect to the national interest in public order and public welfare, the purpose of protecting the exercise of rights and freedoms of other persons, and for public purposes that, in the considered opinion of the Parliament, are reasonably justified in a democratic society that has a proper regard for the rights and dignity of mankind.

(2) For the purposes of–

(a) . . .


(b) Section 41 of the Organic Law on Provincial Governments and Local-level Governments,

it is hereby declared that this Act relates to a matter of national interest.



2. INTERPRETATION.

(1) In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears–

agricultural lease” means a State lease granted under Section 87;
“agricultural purpose” includes a purpose of dairying, horticulture or mixed farming;
“applicant” includes a tenderer;
“application” includes a tender;
“business group” means a business group incorporated under the Business Groups Incorporation Act 1974;
“business lease” means a State lease for business purposes granted under Section 92;
“citizen” includes–

(a) a business group; and


(b) a land group; and
(c) a customary kinship group; and
(d) a customary descent group; and
(e) a customary local group or community;

claimant” means a person who has made a claim for compensation under this Act;


“the Custodian for Trust Land” means the Custodian for Trust Land appointed under the Land Registration Act 1981;
“custom” means the customs and usages of indigenous inhabitants of the country existing in relation to land or the use of land at the time when and the place in relation to which the matter arises, regardless of whether or not the custom or usage has existed from time immemorial;
“customary land” means land that is owned or possessed by an automatic citizen or community of automatic citizens by virtue of rights of a proprietary or possessory kind that belong to that citizen or community and arise from and are regulated by custom;
“customary rights” means rights of a proprietary or possessory kind in relation to land that arise from and are regulated by custom;
“the date of acquisition”, in relation to any land acquired by compulsory process under this Act, means the date on which the notice of acquisition of the land is published in the National Gazette;
“the Department” means the Department responsible for land matters;
“the Departmental Head” means the Departmental Head of the Department responsible for land matters;
“District Court”, in relation to any land, means a District Court having jurisdiction in respect of the locality in which the land, or part of the land, is situated;
“Government land” means land other than–

(a) customary land that is not leased by the customary owners to the State; or


(b) land held by a person other than the State for an estate greater than an estate for a term of years; or
(c) land that is the subject of a State lease or a lease from the State under any other Act; or
(d) land reserved from lease or further lease under this Act;

guardian” includes a person who has, by law or by custom, the immediate custody and control of a child or the right to dispose of property of a child on his behalf;


“improvements” includes a building, yard, fence, well, bore, reservoir, artificial watercourse or watering place, apparatus for raising, holding or conveying water, garden, plantation, cultivation or clearing, or any erection, construction or appliance, being a fixture, for the working or management of land or of stock depastured on land or for maintaining or increasing the natural capabilities of the land;
“interest”, in relation to land, means–

(a) a legal or equitable estate or interest in the land; or


(b) a right, power or privilege over, in or in connection with the land;

land” includes an interest in land whether arising out of and regulated by custom or otherwise;


“land group” means a land group incorporated under the Land Groups Incorporation Act 1974;
“the Land Board” means the Land Board established under Section 55;
“Lease Acceptance Form” means a form approved by the Minister for the successful applicant to notify the Department that he accepts the terms and conditions of the granted application for a lease;
“lessee”, in relation to a lease from the State, means the holder of the lease, his heirs, executors, administrators or assigns;
“Letter of Grant” means a form approved by the Minister for the purpose of notifying a successful applicant (or in appropriate cases a second-choice or third-choice successful applicant) of the grant to him of a State lease and that sets out the terms and conditions of the grant;
“mission lease” means a State lease granted under Section 96;
“mortgagee”, in relation to a mortgage, means the person for the time being entitled to the moneys secured by the mortgage;
“mortgagor”, in relation to a mortgage, means the owner for the time being of the land which is subject to the mortgage;
“the National Housing Corporation” means the National Housing Corporation established by the National Housing Corporation Act 1990;
“notice of acquisition”, in relation to any land, means a notice under Section 12 declaring the land to be acquired by compulsory process under this Act;
“notice of forfeiture” means a notice under Section 122;
“pastoral lease” means a State lease granted under Section 89;
“physical planning area” has the same meaning that it has under the Physical Planning Act 1989;
“public purpose” means–

(a) the purpose of ensuring that land that is not being developed in a manner and to an extent conducive to the best public interest, is properly developed; or


(b) the purpose of making land available to citizens for–

(i) subsistence farming where other land in the area for that purpose is insufficient; or

(ii) for economic development so that they may share in the economic progress of the country; or

(c) any educational, social welfare or community development purpose where other suitable land is either unavailable or insufficient; or


(d) the purpose of preventing disruptive conduct on the part of a leaseholder in a declared land settlement scheme or development scheme from endangering the scheme; or
(e) a purpose connected with the defence or public safety of Papua New Guinea; or
(f) a purpose of public health, utility, necessity or convenience; or
(g) the purposes of a hospital, school, training institution, public library or other similar institution; or
(h) a purpose of or connected with navigation or the safety of navigation by land, air or water; or
(i) the purposes of or connected with a quay, pier, wharf, jetty or landing place or port or harbour purposes, or an aerodrome or landing pad; or
(j) the purposes of or connected with a road, track, bridge, culvert, ferry or canal; or
(k) a purpose of or connected with radio, telegraphic, telephonic or other communication, and the purposes of the National Broadcasting Corporation or the Departments responsible for transport or civil aviation matters; or
(l) the purposes of an oceanarium, or of an aquarium or of oceanographic research and education; or
(m) the purposes of an agricultural, horticultural, veterinary or forestry experimental, treatment or demonstration institution, and the purpose of or a purpose connected with re-afforestation, water conservation, the prevention or control of soil erosion or the reclamation or rehabilitation of land; or
(n) the purposes of a reservoir, aqueduct or water-course; or
(o) the purposes of or connected with the generation or supply of electricity; or
(p) the purposes of a park or recreational area; or
(q) a purpose of industrial development; or
(r) the purpose of accommodation for employees of the State and any other prescribed authority, and the purpose of the settlement or resettlement of residents of urban areas; or
(s) the purpose of ensuring that land designated under the Physical Planning Act 1989 for a particular use or uses is made available for that use or uses; or
(t) the purposes of a cemetery or other place for the interment of the dead; or
(u) the purposes of a coronous pit or a quarry; or
(v) the purposes of or a purpose connected with a welfare centre; or
(w) a purpose declared by any law to be a public purpose for the purposes of this Act; or
(x) a purpose ancillary to or necessary or convenient for the carrying out of a purpose referred to in any of the preceding paragraphs of this definition;

the Registrar of Titles” means the Registrar of Titles appointed under the Land Registration Act 1981;


“the regulations” means any regulations made under this Act;
“a repealed Land Act” means an enactment that dealt primarily with the acquisition, allocation, transfer or registration of rights to land that was enacted or adopted by a former Administration or other government of a former territory, or by the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and which is not currently in force;
“reserve price” means the reserve price for tendered land as is prescribed or as is determined by the Valuer-General;
“reserved land” means land that was reserved from lease or further lease under this Act or a repealed Land Act, or was reserved from sale under a repealed Land Act;
“residence lease” means a State lease granted for residence purposes under Section 92;
“special purposes lease” means a State lease granted under Section 100;
“special agricultural and business lease” means a State lease granted under Section 102;
“State lease” means a lease from the State granted under or continued in force by this Act;
“this Act” includes the regulations;
“trust land” means–

(a) any land held by the Custodian for Trust Land in trust for a citizen, and includes–

(i) land held in trust for unspecified citizens or for citizens generally; and

(ii) land reserved or deemed to be reserved from lease or further lease under this Act and vested in the Custodian for Trust Land in trust for a citizen or citizens generally; or

(b) any land reserved from sale or lease, or deemed to be reserved from sale or lease, under a repealed Land Act for the purpose of a native reserve,

other than land which is the subject of a State lease;


“unimproved value”, in relation to any land, means the unimproved value of the land within the meaning of, and determined in accordance with, the Valuation Act 1967;
“urban development lease” means a State lease granted under Section 104.

(2) The public purposes referred to in Subsection (1) are public purposes for the purpose of Section 53 (protection from unjust deprivation of property) of the Constitution.

(3) A reference in this Act to the acquisition of land or of an interest in land includes a reference to the extinction of an interest in land by virtue of Section 12(2).

3. APPLICATION OF ACT TO INTERESTS UNDER REPEALED LAND ACT.

Except where the contrary intention appears, this Act applies to a grant, granted application, lease, licence, permit, estate, right, title, interest, power, duty, obligation or liability granted under a repealed Land Act.



PART II. – NATIONAL TITLE TO LAND.

4. NATIONAL TITLE TO LAND.

(1) All land in the country other than customary land is the property of the State, subject to any estates, rights, titles or interests in force under any law.

(2) All estate, right, title and interest other than customary rights in land at any time held by a person are held under the State.

5. DECLARATION OF STATE LAND.

(1) The Minister may, by notice in the National Gazette, declare that any land that appears to him not to be customary land shall, unless good cause is shown to the contrary, be conclusively deemed for all purposes, at the expiration of three months from the date of publication of the notice, to be State land.

(2) A notice under Subsection (1) shall set out–

(a) the name or names (if any) by which the land the subject of the notice is known; and


(b) a description or plan of the land; and
(c) the position of the land; and
(d) an estimate of the area of the land,

and the Departmental Head shall immediately give a copy to the Custodian for Trust Land.

(3) Subject to this section, on the expiration of three months from the date of publication of a notice under Subsection (1) the land shall be deemed conclusively for all purposes to be State land.

(4) Where, before the expiration of three months from the date of publication of a notice under Subsection (1), a claim that the land the subject of the notice is customary land is made to the Minister by or on behalf of a citizen, the Minister shall refer the matter to the Land Titles Commission.

(5) Where a claim is made under Subsection (4), the land the subject of the claim shall not be deemed to be State land until the Land Titles Commission has decided the claim, and–

(a) where no application for review or appeal is made under the Land Titles Commission Act 1962–the period prescribed for applying for review or making an appeal has expired; and


(b) where an application for review is made under that Act–the Commission has concluded the review and any re-hearing arising from it; and
(c) where an appeal is made under that Act–the National Court has decided the appeal.

(6) This Section does not affect a right, title, estate or interest in the land the subject of a notice under Subsection (1) in force under, or continued in force by, an Act.



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