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Australian boosts support for peace and helps rebuild Bougainville



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M E D IA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

AA18 12 March 1998

AUSTRALIA BOOSTS SUPPORT FOR PEACE AND HELPS REBUILD BOUGAINVILLE

I am pleased to announce further progress in the implementation of the five-year, $ 100 million reconstruction and rehabilitation program on Bougainville that I announced in September last year.

The Australian Government's commitment to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Bougainville supports the PNG Government's efforts to achieve a lasting peace on the island.

Australia will increase funding for the Bougainville Provincial Rehabilitation Project by $1 million, bringing the total commitment to the project to $2.5 million.

The Project is designed to deliver quick peace dividends as life begins to return to normal across the island. Already, over 70 tonnes of building materials to rebuild schools, health posts, roads and bridges have been distributed to 12 communities across the island. A further 10 agreements to coordinate reconstruction work are being negotiated with community elders.

Australia's contribution to the peace process has also included providing funding for overseas peace talks and the participation of Australian civilians in the Truce Monitoring Group. An additional $500,000 has been committed to these activities on Bougainville. The truce monitors will now remain in Bougainville until the cease-fire comes into effect.

I look forward to the Bougainville cease-fire taking effect on 30 April. This will provide the setting for a greater focus on the very real reconstruction and rehabilitation needs of all Bougainvillians.

Officials from the PNG Government as well as representatives from the Bougainville Transitional Government, the Bougainville Interim Government and Bougainville Revolutionary Army are now meeting in Canberra to further the peace process.

Media contacts: Innes Willox (Minister’s office) 02 6277 7500/0411 414 695 Deborah Nesbitt (AusAID) 02 6206 4966/0417 683 767