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Thursday, 14 November 2002
Page: 6472

Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, upon notice, on 18 October 2002:

(1) (a) What is the status of the proposed agreement between Australia and South Korea on migratory birds; and (b) when will it be made available for public comment.

(2) What actions has the Government taken since responding to Senator Brown's question on notice no. 385 (Senate Hansard, 21 August 2002, p. 3472) to try to prevent the destruction of the internationally significant Saemangeum wetlands.

Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for the Environment and Heritage has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) (a) The text of the proposed Republic of Korea - Australia Migratory Bird Agreement is being finalised. We anticipate having the agreement signed by both governments early in 2003.

(b) Australia follows international practice that a bilateral agreement remains confidential to the parties until it is signed. Once the agreement is signed and before any binding action is taken, the agreement text will be tabled in both Houses of Parliament with a National Interest Analysis prepared in consultation with the States and Territories. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties will consider the agreement and may hold public meetings. The Committee's report will be tabled, printed and made available on the internet.

(2) The Government has focused its efforts on progressing the bilateral agreement which will facilitate dialogue between Australia and the Republic of Korea on the conservation of migratory shorebirds and their habitat.