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Wednesday, 16 March 2016
Page: 2168

Senator RYAN (VictoriaMinister for Vocational Education and Skills) (17:24): Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator RYAN: The Australian government supports international efforts to end the fighting in Syria and ease the suffering of the Syrian people. Since 2011, Australia has provided $258 million in humanitarian assistance for the Iraq and Syria crises, including almost $70 million in the past five months alone. Most recently, at the Supporting Syria conference in London, the foreign minister announced a further $25 million in assistance for Syria and its neighbours, as well as Iraq. The assistance would be provided through the UNHCR, UNICEF and the World Food Program, along with international humanitarian organisations and Australian NGOs. Australia is also deploying 10 Australian civilian corps specialists. These specialists will provide much needed technical expertise to our UN partners in humanitarian and development sectors. In total, the government's response to the crises in Syria and Iraq—humanitarian, resettlement and military—amounts to over $1.6 billion, which is significant by any terms.