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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 3568


Senator Cash asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 3 May 2010:

(1)   To alleviate the hardship and potential famine in Zimbabwe: (a) what is Australia doing diplomatically; and (b) what programs are in place.

(2)   What is the status of the Commonwealth leaders’ troika on Zimbabwe.

(3)   What financial support did Australia provide to Zimbabwe for each of the following financial years: (a) 2006-07; (b) 2007-08; (c) 2008-09; and (d) 2009-10 to date.


Senator Faulkner (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1) (a)   Australia is pursuing an active diplomatic strategy on Zimbabwe and engages closely with many other countries, including in Africa, on this issue. Mr Smith outlined Australia’s policy approach in detail to the House of Representatives on 16 March 2010. (b) Australia’s aid to Zimbabwe focuses on food security, agriculture, and water and sanitation, and also provides some assistance to health, and education. Assistance is delivered through the following organisations and programs Food and agriculture - Australia is among the leading contributors to the World Food Programme (WFP) Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation in Zimbabwe. - Australia also co-funds the Protracted Relief Programme (PRP) established by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) to improve food security, access to water and sanitation, and social protection for the most vulnerable. Australia’s support for the distribution of seed and fertiliser to smallholder farmers through the PRP contributed to a reduction in the number of Zimbabweans needing food aid from almost seven million in March 2009 to an estimated two million in 2010. - Australia also supported the distribution of improved maize seed for the 2009-10 agricultural season through US$7 million (approximately $8.6 million) allocated to Zimbabwe from the $50 million contribution to the World Bank Global Food Crisis Response Program announced by Minister Smith on 13 July 2008. - Australia is providing support for the role of the private sector in Zimbabwe’s agricultural recovery through a special program of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund to support innovative private sector activities with benefits for the rural poor. Water and sanitation - Australia contributed to international efforts to combat the severe cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe in 2008-09 and has provided assistance through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Australian non-government organisations (NGOs) for rehabilitation of water and sanitation systems to address the underlying causes of the epidemic. This assistance has contributed to a dramatic fall in the incidence of cholera in 2010, compared with 2009. By late March 2009, the cholera epidemic had killed more than 4,000 people from more than 93,000 suspected cases. In contrast, following a new outbreak which began on 4 February 2010, there had been 9 deaths from 289 suspected cases by 28 March 2010. Health - Australia has also supported efforts to combat cholera by providing $5 million through the UK DFID for incentive payments to health workers, to encourage them to return to work in clinics and hospitals which had stopped functioning as a result of Zimbabwe’s economic collapse. Education - Through a $2 million contribution to the multi-donor UNICEF Education Transition Fund, Australia is also supporting efforts to resuscitate Zimbabwe’s education system, mainly through provision of textbooks and learning materials. Australia continues to have in place robust implementation and monitoring systems to minimise the risk of funds being misused or misdirected.

(2)   The mandate for the Commonwealth ‘troika’ ended at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Abuja in December 2003.

(3)  

(a)   $6,237,354;

(b)   $13,637,006;

(c)   $42,816,802; and

(d)   approximately $38 million.