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Australian donation of rice to Laos



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M I N I S T E R F O R F O R E I G N A F F A I R S

FOR PRESS: AUSTRALIAN DONATION OF RICE TO LAOS

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Willesee,

announced today that the Australian Government was providing

Laos with 1200 tonnes of rice, valued at $A500,000. This

was shipped from Australia in January, through Hong Kong and

Thailand, and will be delivered to Laos within the next week.

Senator Willesee said that Laos is one of those least

developed countries most seriously affected by increases in

commodity and oil prices. The cost of rice is to be met from

Australia's special allocation $A40 million towards the United ' , '

Nations Special Program.

Australia's response to the Lao request was timely,

Senator Willesee said, considering the seriousness of the

economic situation in Laos* Australia also wished to demonstrate

its support for the new coalition government of Laos and

the movement of national reconciliation which brought it about.

Senator Willesee recalled that, to the end of last

financial year, Australia had given Laos development assistance

under the Colombo Plan amounting to $A12.2 million. Aid

totalling $A1.3 million in 1973/74 is estimated to increase

to $A3 million in the current fiscal year, 1974/75. This

o m o t M e s projects in forestry, pasture improvement, English

language teaching and a contribution to the multi-lateral

Nam Ngum hydro-electric dam project.

Canberra

9 April, 1975 '