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Wednesday, 1 April 1987
Page: 1681

(Question No. 1519)

Senator Archer asked the Minister representing the Special Minister of State, upon notice, on 13 November 1986:

(1) Did the Federal Government provide Thailand narcotics authorities with a $9m computerised data-base if so, did the Federal Government pay for 6 computer experts and 2 crime analysts to visit Bangkok as part of providing this computer system.

(2) Is the system in operation and does the Australian Government have an ongoing financial commitment to the program.

(3) Does the ABCI receive any drug related information of relevance to Australia from that source.

Senator Tate —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) The project referred to was initiated by the previous Government in December 1982 through a Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and Thailand. Australia is providing computing equipment, software and services, six ADP specialists and one crime intelligence analyst while Thailand is providing 37 support personnel and accommodation for equipment and staff. The estimated cost of the project to the end of June 1987 is some $8.6m.

(2) The Australian project team is assisting with the progressive installations and operation of the system. A joint Australian/Thai review of progress with the project has recently been completed and discussion on future project funding past June 1987 will be made against the background of this review and as part of the normal 1987-88 budgetary process.

(3) I do not propose to comment upon or speculate about the sources of the ABCI's information.