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Notice given 21 July 2011

840  Senator Rhiannon: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs—In regard to Lao People’s Democratic Republic’s (Laos’) proposed Xayaburi Dam on the mainstream of the Mekong River, Australia’s support to the Mekong River Commission (MRC), and Australia’s bilateral aid to Mekong countries bordering the Mekong River:

(1) As a major donor to the MRC, and for the MRCs Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement under the 1955 Mekong Agreement (PNPCA), what position does the Australian Government hold on the proposed Xayaburi Dam, and the other proposed mainstream dams on the Mekong River.

(2) What is the Australian Government’s understanding of the current status of the PNPCA.

(3) Does the Australian Government consider that obligations under the procedures have been met, and whether they are completed or still ongoing.

(4) What messages will Australia be sending to the Mekong governments in the lead up to the proposed ministerial meeting to discuss the Xayaburi Dam.

(5) Given that the Vietnam and Cambodian Governments have made clear public statements regarding their concerns with the Xayaburi Dam, including support for the recommended 10 year moratorium on the dams, how will Australia support these countries’ clearly stated public views on the Xayaburi Dam and the PNPCA.

(6) Will the Minister, or an Australian Government representative, meet bilaterally with the Lao Government to encourage a renewed commitment by Laos to international dialogue and decision making, via regionally mandated processes, for the Xayaburi Dam; if so, what messages will the Australian Government give to the Lao Government.

(7) Given Australia’s previous influential role in Development Partner considerations of the proposed dams, will the Australian Government join with other governments such as Vietnam and the United States of America, in publicly supporting the recommendations of the Strategic Environmental Assessment and call for a 10 year moratorium on decisions regarding the Mekong mainstream dams.