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Wednesday, 24 August 1994
Page: 296

(Question No. 1499)

Senator Chamarette asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 28 June 1994:

  Is the Minister aware of plans by the Indonesian Government to dam the Mamberamo River in Irian Jaya; if so: (a) how will the dam project be funded; (b) what area of rainforest is expected to be inundated by the dam; and (c) how many people will be relocated to make way for the dam.

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

  I am aware of a proposal by the Government of Indonesia to dam a section of the Mamberamo River basin. I understand the proposal is a preliminary one and that to date, only basic investigations and reconnaissance have been undertaken.

  (a) It is not clear how such a project would be funded, but I understand the Government of Indonesia has approached some donor countries regarding funding.

  (b) Our Embassy in Jakarta has been told by an official source that the Government of Indonesia has not commenced detailed planning and is consequently not yet certain what area would be inundated by water should a dam be built.

  (c) Our Embassy in Jakarta has been told by an Indonesian official source that, because of the remoteness of the proposed area, there should not be a need to relocate people should a dam be built.