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Tuesday, 7 October 2003
Page: 20742


Mr McClelland asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 11 August 2003:

(1) Who is providing advice and assistance to Iraq to develop its domestic labour laws.

(2) What steps has Australia taken to ensure a role for the International Labour Organisation in assisting Iraq.


Mr Downer (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —the answer to the honourable member's question is as follows :

(1) I understand that the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq considers any review of Iraq's labour laws as a matter for a future Iraqi government to address. The International Labour Organisation issued a press release on 28 March (available on the internet at http://www.ilo.org/public/english/ bureau/inf/pr/2003/14.htm) declaring its readiness to participate in Iraq's post-conflict rehabilit-ation. While the ILO does not yet have any permanent international staff in Iraq, it is preparing a needs assessment, based on the findings of an expert mission to Iraq prior to the conflict. This study will form the basis of the ILO's input into the broader United Nations planning process for Iraq, including the international donors' conference to take place in Madrid on 24 October. The ILO's needs assessment will address future ILO priorities for technical assistance to Iraq.

(2) Given the work already being undertaken by the ILO to address labour and employment issues in Iraq, there is no need for the Australian Government to take steps to ensure a role for the ILO in assisting Iraq.