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Monday, 4 May 1987
Page: 2564

(Question No. 5240)

Mr Ruddock asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 25 March 1987:

(1) Did Budget Paper No. 9, which sets out Australia's Overseas Development Assistance Program for 1986-87, state (a) on page 12 that the estimated contribution to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was $2.9m and (b) on page 13 that provision has been made for $2.9m to be drawn down in 1986-87.

(2) Did he in his answer to question No. 4993 (Hansard, 17 March 1987, page 990) advise that payments totalling $1.7m are expected to be made in 1986-87 to IFAD; if so, what is the reason for the reduction.

(3) Are the payments to be made in 1986-87 only relevant to the first replenishment of IFAD committed for 1981-83.

(4) Did IFAD agree that a second replenishment for the period 1985-87 would be raised from constituent members.

(5) Did Australia pledge $US5.934m to the second replenishment.

(6) Do any of the funds committed or paid in 1986-87 constitute a part payment of the pledged second replenishment; if not, has Australia sought any extension of time to fund its commitment to IFAD or does it intend to dishonour the pledge.

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

(1) (a) Yes.

(b) Yes.

(2) Yes. Payment of $A1.7m has been made to IFAD for 1986-87. Australia's contributions to IFAD are made in the form of promissory notes which are drawn-down by IFAD to meet Australia's share of the Fund's disbursement costs. Before the end of each financial year, IFAD provides Australia with its estimates of the amount of money it expects to draw-down in the next financial year. These estimates appear in Budget Paper No. 9. Actual draw-downs are based on actual disbursements. The discrepancy between IFAD's estimated draw-downs and actual draw-downs in 1986-87 results from the fact that IFAD experienced a lower rate of disbursement during this period than it had previously estimated. IFAD has notified us that exchange rate fluctuations have also contributed to the lower than expected draw-down of Australia's promissory notes.

(3) Yes.

(4) Yes.

(5) Yes. Australia pledged $A8.48m to the second replenishment, which at the agreed exchange rate is equivalent to $US5.934m.

(6) No, none of the funds paid in 1986-87 constitute payment of the pledged second replenishment and Australia has not sought any extension of time to fund its pledge to IFAD. IFAD estimates that the first call on any Australian contribution to the second replenishment will not take place until the 1989-90 financial year. As the honourable member is aware from my answer to his previous question, a comparative assessment of the value of Australia's participation in international financial institutions and IFAD has been initiated as a basis for determining future contributions. This process is nearing completion and the Government will be considering the question of Australia's participation in IFAD's second replenishment in the context of the recommendations of this review.