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Monday, 30 May 1994
Page: 828

Senator WATSON —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Development Cooperation and Pacific Island Affairs. Can the minister advise of the current status of Australia's $6 million involvement in aid for the proposed Mindoro College of Agriculture and Technology in the Philippines? Has the Philippines government been able to satisfactorily negotiate with the residents of the land upon which the college was planned to be established? What is the current attitude of the Australian government towards the forced removal of long-term residents of the site in order that the project might proceed? What level of involvement has the Australian government maintained to ensure that the interests of the local residents are not abused and that Australian aid is not perceived as the driving force for the overriding of the rights of indigenous peasants?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I am afraid that I cannot advise Senator Watson off the top of my head about the status of that particular project. I will seek the information he is after and respond as soon as I can.