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Thursday, 25 November 1999
Page: 12716

Mr FAHEY (Finance and Administration) (4:20 PM) —I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

It is with pleasure that I introduce the Appropriation (East Timor) Bill 1999-2000 . This bill makes provision for supplementary appropriations to the Department of Defence and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) in relation to operations in the East Timor region.

In the bill, the parliament is asked to appropriate moneys from the consolidated revenue fund to meet these necessary additional expenditures. The moneys are additional to the appropriations made in Appropriation Acts (Nos 1 and 2) 1999-2000 last Budget, and the additional appropriations proposed in the appropriation bills (Nos 3 and 4) 1999-2000 to be tabled in this session.

In order that the Department of Defence and AusAID can operate, financially uninhib ited, in fulfilling the government's commitment to the East Timor region, it is necessary that they have timely access to the supplementary funding. For this reason, the appropriations are sought outside the additional estimates process, and introduction and passage of the East Timor bill in this session is being sought.

The appropriations in the East Timor bill total $920 million.

A sum of $860.0 million is provided for the Department of Defence for the deployment and peace enforcement in East Timor, new investments that may be needed to augment the capability of the forces in East Timor and an increase in overall ADF numbers so that the deployment can be sustained and acceptable levels of overall readiness maintained.

Of this total amount some $845 million relates to operational expenses and net capital investment of the department, and $15 million to fund the capital user charge. The latter amount is an internal transaction to government and so does not impact on the overall budget bottom line.

A sum of $60 million is provided for AusAID to fund Australia's contribution to the humanitarian and reconstruction needs of East Timor and to support the establishment and operations of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

I commend the bill to the House and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.