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Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Page: 97


Senator Bob Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 12 November 2008:

(1)   How much money does Australia’s overseas aid program (AusAID) spend on the clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in: (a) Vietnam; (b) Laos; and (c) Cambodia.

(2)   What are the criteria for determining the allocation of funding for the removal of UXOs to these countries.

(3)   Does AusAID give any preference to countries where the UXOs to be cleared were originally put there by Australian forces, such as in the central regions of Vietnam.

(4)   Can exceptions be made to AusAID’s strategy of preferring to fund UXO removal projects in countries that have signed the international mine-ban convention.


Senator Faulkner (Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary) —The following answer has been provided by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   Expenditure and current commitments:

Expenditure since 2005-06 and

current commitments

($ million)

a. Vietnam

1.1

b. Laos

9.1

c. Cambodia

24.0

(2)   Australia’s Mine Action Strategy (2005-2010) establishes Australia’s priorities for allocating funding to mine action. In accordance with the Strategy, Australia’s mine action program in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia has a strong focus on UXO/mine clearance, survivor assistance and mine risk education. Priority in these countries is given to humanitarian need, development and poverty reduction, and commitment to mine action and the Mine Ban Convention. The majority of Australia’s mine action assistance is delivered through Australia’s bilateral country programs, the strategies for which are prepared in consultation with partner governments.

(3)   Funds provided by AusAID do not give priority to countries where the landmines were originally placed by Australian forces, prior to Australia’s compliance with the Mine Ban Convention.

(4)   Australia has supported both States parties and Non States Parties to the Mine Ban Convention. While priority for Australian support is given to countries committed to the Mine Ban Convention, allowances are made for exceptional circumstances, humanitarian need and progress towards signing or ratification of the Mine Ban Convention. Non States Parties that have been supported include Nepal, Sri Lanka, Lao PDR and Vietnam.