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MOU on asylum seekers signed with Nauru.

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FA177 11 December 2001


I have today signed with His Excellency President Rene Harris a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Republic of Nauru and the Commonwealth of Australia for Cooperation in the Administration of Asylum Seekers and Related Issues. This MOU consolidates our joint efforts to address the difficult issue of people smuggling and aims to ensure our cooperation continues to take place on an amicable, effective and mutually beneficial basis.

Under this MOU, Nauru has agreed to accept a maximum of 1200 persons to be accommodated at the two processing facilities in the country at any one time. This is an increase of around 400 on the number of people currently being processed in Nauru. Australia will continue to meet all costs associated with the transfer, processing and accommodation of the asylum seekers, in addition to meeting the operating costs of the processing centres. The MOU also guarantees that Australia will ensure no persons will remain in Nauru after appropriate processing procedures are completed.

Under the MOU, and consistent with our commitment to regional security and prosperity in the Pacific, Australia agrees to work with Nauru to develop a medium-term sustainable development strategy to assist the country in meeting its current economic and development challenges. The strategy will reflect Nauru’s development priorities, with particular focus on the health and education sectors and support sustainable infrastructure enhancements to an estimated value of $10 million. This process will also aim to advance our ongoing dialogue on strengthening Nauru’s economic fundamentals.

I am very pleased to be in Nauru to discuss these issues with President Harris and join him in signing the MOU which we finalised today. Australia remains committed to working with others in the region to combat the illegal activities of people smugglers. Nauru, through its valuable cooperation over the last four months, is already making a very important and meaningful contribution.

Media Inquiries: Nicole Guihot (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 / 0407 710 374 Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

Australia-Nauru Memorandum of Understanding

Summary of Schedule - Humanitarian and Development Assistance

Australia and Nauru have agreed a program of activities to assist Nauru meet its priority economic management and sustainable development challenges. The package totals $10 million and is focused on the education, health and infrastructure sectors. The detail of the proposed activities and respective responsibilities will be jointly determined through ongoing discussions.

Development Strategy: Australia will work with Nauru and multilateral partners to develop a comprehensive medium-term sustainable development strategy that can assist Nauru strengthen its economic fundamentals and coordinate assistance to key sectors. The strategy will address options for a secure and professionally managed trust fund as well as include options for broad community-level consultations on Nauru’s development options, possibly including a second economic and development summit.

Health - estimated at $4.5m: Australia will assist in developing sustainable options for in-Nauru, in-region and in-Australia health and medical assistance. Envisaged activities include health scholarships, health staff skills upgrade and counterpart programs with Australian institutions; medical specialist visits to Nauru and allied health staff; provision of essential equipment; assistance with in-Australia medical and hospital bills; and development of cost-saving telemedicine options.

Education - estimated at $3.45m: Australia will assist in developing sustainable options for in-Nauru, in-region and in-Australia education assistance. Envisioned activities include education scholarships; teacher training and vocational training support; counterpart programs with Australian institutions; assistance with education costs; and provision of mobile classroom and essential equipment.

Waste Management - estimated at $1m: Australia will assist procure and deliver waste management infrastructure to strengthen waste reduction programs and to mitigate the impact of waste on Nauru.

Water Tank Repairs - estimated at $200,000: Australia will work with the Nauru Phosphate Corporation to facilitate essential maintenance of key water tanks and water lines to maximize rainwater collection and water storage capacity.

Police Training - estimated at $150,000: Australia will work with the Nauru police to enhance skills and to expand general policing capacities.

Technical Assistance - estimated at $700,000: Australia will identify and provide key specialist services in media training; lands and survey; customs and immigration; statistics and census to enhance Nauru skills through counterpart training, equipment and software provision.