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Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Page: 3764

Official Development Assistance

(Question No. 107)

Mr Bandt asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in writing, on 25 November 2010:

How is the Government going to build on official development assistance policies covered by the current Water and Sanitation Initiative after its funding expires in June 2011, specifically: (a) what amount of funding will be allocated to water, sanitation and hygiene in the aid program in (i) 2011-12, (ii) 2012-13, and (iii) 2013-14; (b) how will water, sanitation and hygiene be integrated into the Government's priority programs of health and education; and (c) how many of the schools constructed with Australian official development assistance include the required number of child-friendly toilets for girls and boys, and safe drinking water supplies.

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

(a) Future allocations of Australian Official Development Assistance, including for water, sanitation and hygiene, will be considered in the context of the 2011-12 Budget.

(b) Australia's approach to development assistance in education emphasises that school infrastructure should meet basic standards, including separate sanitation facilities for girls and boys. This is integrated into the design process for AusAID programs. The inclusion of appropriate sanitation facilities in schools will contribute to achieving education targets and should decrease the incidence of diarrhoeal disease, which prevents children from attending school. Appropriate facilities also assist greater enrolment of girls in education. Water and sanitation programs are part of a broader approach to improve children's health, which also includes supporting vaccine initiatives and access to basic health care.

(c) While AusAID does not collect statistics on the number of schools with child-friendly toilets and safe drinking water supplies constructed using Australian Official Development Assistance, toilets and water supplies are typically included in the construction projects. For example, in Kiribati, AusAID supported the construction of a specially designed toilet block which has made it safer for technical and vocational education and training students and teachers to attend school, including students with disabilities. Also in Kiribati, AusAID has commenced an education program which includes rehabilitating government schools to meet the National Infrastructure Standards and is working jointly with United Nations agencies to improve water and sanitation facilities on schools on the Outer Islands. In Nauru, all six infant and primary schools have been fully refurbished with improved water and sanitation facilities. In Laos Australia contributed to the construction of 125 primary schools with toilets and water supplies between 2007 and 2010. Additionally, Australia funded the construction of 258 latrines and 300 water supplies for primary schools in Laos through the Access to Basic Education program between 2006 and 2011. In Indonesia schools built with Australian support include separate toilet facilities for girls and boys. Since 2008 all schools built in Indonesia with Australian support have ramps and accessible toilets for children with disabilities, making more than 1,000 schools more accessible. The Government of Indonesia now requires all new schools to have disabled access, including toilets, as a result of Australia including disability access in Australia Indonesia Basic Education Program schools.