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Tuesday, 6 September 1983
Page: 440

Question No. 130


Mr Robert Brown asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 12 May 1983:

(1) When were Australian advisers and troops committed to the war in Vietnam.

(2) Over what period were Australians involved in the war.

(3) What was the total cost of Australia's involvement.

(4) What aid other than military was provided over this period and for what purposes.

(5) What aid has been provided since Australia's military withdrawal in 1972 and for what purposes.

(6) When did aid cease to be provided and what was the reason.


Mr Hayden —The answer the the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Australian advisers and troops were first committed to the war on 24th May 1962, following a Government announcement to commit thirty officers and other ranks of the Australian Army Training Team to Vietnam.

(2) The Training Team's first detachment arrived in Vietnam on 31 July 1962, and from then until June 1973 various elements of the Defence Force operated in the country.

(3) The estimated total cost is assessed to be $466.2 million, which comprises $247.6 million for the normal cost of maintaining those forces in Australia, and $218.6 million for the additional costs of maintaining them in Vietnam.

In addition, $6.0 million was spent on military aid to South Vietnam over the period 1970-71 to 1972-73.

(4) Civilian aid was first made available to the Government of the Republic of Vietnam under the Colombo Plan, in 1954-55. During the years of Australia's active military involvement this aid took the form of educational assistance and civil infrastructure projects designed to assist the Government of the Republic of Vietnam meet its economic and social development goals. A total of $27.688 million in aid was provided by Australia to Vietnam from 1962 to 1973.

(5) A total of $25.106 million in aid was provided between the time of Australia's military withdrawral in 1973 to 1979. This aid continued to be in the form of educational assistance and civil infrastructure projects.

(6) Civilian aid to the Government of the Republic of Vietnam ceased when that Government fell in April, 1975, although the majority of Vietnamese students in Australia nominated by that Government stayed on in Australia to complete their courses of study. A subsequent program of Australian assistance to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was suspended by the previous government in January 1979 in response to Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia. A total of 88 students nominated by the SRV had taken up Australian awards. At the time of suspension, 35 students were still undergoing training and were permitted to complete their courses in Australia.