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Tuesday, 17 September 1974
Page: 1164

Senator Chaney (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

Does the Government provide financial or other assistance to organisations supporting children in institutions in Vietnam fathered by Australian or other foreign servicemen during the war in Vietnam; if not, will it do so.

Senator Willesee - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

The Australian Government is not at present giving financial or other assistance to any child care organisation in Vietnam.

Customarily, assistance provided under Australia's aid program is made in response to specific requests from the recipient Government. In South Vietnam, Australia's aid is predominantly infrastructural, reflecting the wishes of the Government of South Vietnam that we concentrate in this area where Australia has specific expertise and which also accords with their most urgent needs and priorities.

Although the Government of South Vietnam has not specifically requested assistance for institutions in South Vietnam in which children of mixed parentage reside, the. Australian Government has pledged $A250,000 to UNICEF (disbursed in 1973-74 and 1974-75) for its Indo-China aid operation including its welfare programs for Vietnamese mothers and children disadvantaged by the war. Consideration is also being given to further contributions in this area.

The Australian Adoptive Families Association has recently made a submission to the Government, seeking financial assistance for a centre it has established in Saigon, where care and treatment is given to orphans awaiting adoption. This submission is at present under consideration. In addition, the Australian Government convened a Conference, on 24 and 25 July, between officials of Australian and State government instrumentalities, in an endeavour to find any ways of improving the present protracted arrangements for Australians to adopt such orphans. This conference has produced some suggestions, which will require consideration not only by Australian Government Ministers but also by State Ministers. I shall be happy to arrange for the honourable senator to be informed as soon as decisions on these matters are taken.

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