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Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Page: 6278

Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (17:49): Minister, when will you release your response to the independent panel of review into AusAID and do you expect the 2011-12 budget to be revised upwards as a result of the independent panel of review into AusAID?

Also, I would like to continue with some more questions on PNG. What will be spent by AusAID specifically in PNG on health infrastructure and programs? What will be spent by AusAID in the western province to prevent PNG nationals with TB coming to the Torres Strait? Has Queensland Health provided AusAID with information on the patients with TB and cholera who up until now they have been managing? What does the minister expect the additional cost to AusAID will be as a result of Queensland Health closing the clinic in the Torres Strait?

On the issue of scholarships now, I would like to note that $362 million has been allocated in the 2011-12 budget for education scholarships. This is separate to $480 million on basic and secondary education. How were these scholarships awarded? Recently an ANAO report on 26 May noted that:

… nine of the top 20 recipients of country program aid did not have approved country strategies.

Why were scholarships awarded to countries that do not have an approved country strategy in the aid program? Can the minister detail the decision-making process in which countries are chosen or how individuals are awarded scholarships? What post-scholarship follow-up is undertaken to make certain that the individual returns to their country of origin and what monitoring processes are in place to evaluate the total effectiveness of the scholarship program and also individual effectiveness? What are the completion rates of these scholarships? Are there countries that have lower completion rates? What processes are put in place to address low completion rates? I also note that there has been a decrease in aid funding to Burma. That has been reduced in the budget. Yet aid to Latin America has increased by 23 per cent. What programs are expected to be undertaken and what will be delivered for this massive increase? What will be the result of the program cuts to Burma?

On the question of UN Women, $19 million has been allocated to UN Women over three years. Does Australia currently have a position on the board of UN Women? If not, do we expect to have one soon after investing $19 million? How will we advance the cause for women in our region without a place on the board? What activities will the money be spent on this year? Who administers the particular money associated with UN Women? Is there an expectation that there will be reasonable input from Australia and the Pacific region in the process, given particularly that in the Pacific region only two per cent of all elected leaders are women? Recently ACFID called for the creation of an ambassador for women's rights. Has the department considered this particular position?

Back to scholarships, how many were awarded in 2010-11 and how many do you expect to award in 2011-12? I do not think I asked for recipient countries. Who are they?