Government identifying public land within development zones to convert into open spaces

Prime Minister Robert Abela slams Opposition leader’s ‘far-right rhetoric’ when speaking on overpopulation  

Prime Minister Robert Abela (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Prime Minister Robert Abela (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

Government is seeking to identify public land within built up areas to convert them it open spaces, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced on Wednesday.

“By the beginning of next year, the first phase of the process to include these lands as part of the government’s greening projects will be completed,” Abela said.

Abela was speaking during the debate of the Budget estimates of the Office of the Prime Minister.

He said these public lands, within development zones, will be converted into open spaces for families to enjoy.

Abela said one must understand that this initiative cannot be carried out on every piece of public land, and will identified in a “realistic manner.”

He also announced that starting next year, public service systems will undergo a transformation into paperless operations, transitioning away from manual filing methods. The system, Corporate Electronic Document, will be part of the wider strategy to digitise the public service.

The contract is currently being reviewed, and is expected to be finalised by the end of next year. The first entities to operate within this system will be the Office of the Prime Minister and entities which fall under its remit.

Abela calls out Grech’s ‘far-right rhetoric’

The PM dedicated the first part of his speech to call out what he called “far-right rhetoric” by Opposition leader Bernard Grech during his speech.

Grech dedicated a substantial part of his speech to call out government’s lack of control on the rise in the country’s population. He said the rising population was the reason behind a number of problems Malta is facing.

“The speech was a classic case of populism, while offering no solutions,” Abela said. “He is trying drive a wedge between Maltese and foreigners in the country.”

He said government is sticking to its socialist principles when enacting new laws to regulate temping agencies.

“Because we are driven by socialist principles, we want to ensure workers’ rights are protected no matter the colour of their skin,” he said. “We are speaking about people here, and we need laws to prevent their exploitation.”

Abela said he has sent a clear message to temping agencies that a free-for-all no longer reigns in the country.

“We need to protect the most vulnerable in our society,” he said.

Energy subsidies will not be stopped

Abela also echoed his previous statements that energy subsidies will remain, saying they were crucial to government retaining a stable economy.

“We cannot have economic success if we do not subsidise the energy sector,” he said.

The PM also said government is looking at other alternatives to ensure subsidies are sustainable, mentioning the waste-to-energy projects, and the development of off-shore floating wind and solar energy projects.