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Monday, 16 June 2003
Page: 11614

Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 15 May 2003:

Have embassy officials in Papua New Guinea met on a regular basis with representatives of Australian mining companies operating in Papua New Guinea; if so: (a) when were the meetings held; (b) for each of the meetings, which companies were represented and who represented them; and (c) for each of the meetings: (i) what issues were raised, (ii) what requests for assistance were made of embassy officials, and (iii) what assistance did embassy officials provide.

Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The following answer has been provided by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the honourable senator's question:

Embassy officials are frequently involved in meetings with a range of Australian business representatives, including from mining companies, in the pursuit of Australia's national interests overseas. To discover and provide the details being sought would require the diversion of significant resources within the department, which I am not prepared to authorise. In addition, many meetings with Australian business representatives are held on a “Commercial-in-Confidence” basis and it would not be appropriate to disclose the details of participants or issues raised.