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Wednesday, 26 June 1996
Page: 2199

Senator BOURNE(10.47 a.m.) —I do agree with one thing that Senator Hill has just said, and that is that the Australian Democrats have been saying—I have been saying it for six years—that DIFF should not be included in development aid; it should be in another area. We suggested trade and industry as another area it should be included in.

But I do not see development aid mentioned at all in this committee reference. The point that has been made is a valid one, and I make it again: DIFF should not have been included as part of our development aid program; our development aid should have been humanitarian aid, and that is what should have got us up to 0.7 per cent of GNP. At the moment, with DIFF having been taken out, I think we go back to about 0.28 per cent or 0.29 per cent, which is just outrageous when you consider that the United Nations has a target of 0.7 per cent. With DIFF included, I think we are up to about 0.35 per cent. Everybody gives a guarantee that we will be up to 0.5 per cent within a couple of years, and we just keep going down, and that is outrageous.

However, let me make the point that development aid is not mentioned here. It is not in the terms of reference of this committee inquiry. The inquiry will be looking into the proposed abolition of this scheme, a mixed credit scheme, and how that is going to affect various things in the region.

I would like to foreshadow a move to amend the motion to add an extra section to it. That extra section would read, `The extent to which the DIFF could be further refined to assist developing countries in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.' The reason I would like to put that in is that, specifically, the Bureau of Industry Economics has released a report today which says that Australia could make a massive contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by assisting developing countries in the reduction of those greenhouse gas emissions because we have such good technology in this area. I think that is something else that the committee could, very profitably, have a look at, and I will be moving that.

The comment by the Minister for the Environment (Senator Hill) that the government is looking at a reformed mixed credit scheme is a good one. I hope that it looks at it in terms of trade rather than aid, and my firm hope, from what he has said, is that the government intends to increase humanitarian aid. I look forward to seeing a schedule for when it intends to get up to 0.7 per cent of GNP. It is not going to be easy from 0.28 per cent or 0.29 per cent, whatever we are on now, but I look forward to it finding some more humanitarian aid and money for that in the very near future. I move:

At the end of the motion, add:

(g)   the extent to which the DIFF could be further refined to assist developing countries in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.