The Heritage Bill 2023 will now be referred to the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights, after the Government saw merit in the views of the Opposition expressed in Parliament.
Last Tuesday, the Attorney-General Siromi Turaga moved a motion pursuant to Standing Order 51, that the Bill be considered by Parliament without delay, that the Bill must pass through one stage at a single sitting of Parliament.
However, while debating the Bill, Government has directed that the Bill be sent to a Standing Committee and that a report on the Bill must be presented at the November Sitting of Parliament.
Turaga said national heritage is something that is a treasure to all of us, a country in the Pacific that is both diverse and strategically placed in the South Pacific – Fiji is rich with culture and diversity while at the same time maintain strong links to our traditions and heritage.
“As a member state, Fiji is required to adopt the legislative and administrative provisions to give effect to the World Heritage Convention.”
“The Bill provides for the domestic application of the World Heritage Convention in Fiji; No changes have been made to the Bill as tabled on Tuesday,” Turaga said.
Responding to the motion, Opposition MP Faiyaz Koya said they supported the decision of Government to refer the Bill to a Standing Committee.
Koya thanked the Government for listening – it is important, it is for Fiji.
“This is a Bill that was instigated by us in the first place and I think it is important that we do realise that it has to do with Fiji, and it has to do with our commitments that we have made with UNESCAP and the World Heritage sites,” Koya added.