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Native local government councils in Papua and New Guinea

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FOR PRESS : 922.


Statement by the Minister for Territories, the Hon. Paul Hasluck

The Minister for Territories, the Hon. Paul Hasluck, Μ.P., said to-day that there are now nearly 200,000 native people in

Papua and New Guinea who are represented by Native Local Government Councils, Of these, about 90,000 are eligible voters

"A recent significant development in these Councils," said Mr. Hasluck, "has been the number of female councillors who have been elected. There are now eight and I hope that, as elections occur from time to time, increasing numbers of women

will be nominated and elected," Mr. Hasluck went on to say that the history of Native Local Government Councils had been one of very rapid growth, particularly

in the last three or four years. The first council was declared

in -august, 1950. By the end of 1953 there were seven councils in operation. None were declared during 1954 and 1955 but since then the number has increased, with new declarations (and taking into account numbers of amalgamations) to the present tota.l of 29,

which represent 1,056 villages.

The basic aims of Native Local Government Council policy,

Mr. Hasluck said, are -(i) to provide a means for teaching natives to assume a

measure of responsibility for their local affairs, in

accordance with dem0cratic ρr0 cedures; (ii) to provide area machinery and local funds for extending and co-ordinating social services at village level and hence to enlist active native support in endeavours

to raise native living standards,’ (iii) to face the native population squarely with the fact

that progress is inseparable from good order and industrious habits and that social services have to be

paid for; and (iv) to prepare the way for ultimately fitting the native

people, in a way they can understand, into the

Territory’s political system.

CANBERRA November 10, 1959 - P.M.