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PM confirms he sat on measures that could ease the squeeze.



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MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER FA34 6 March 2004

SINGAPORE - REDEVELOPMENT OF CHANGI PRISON

I warmly welcome the announcement today by the Singapore Government that it will preserve some key elements of the Changi Prison.

Changi Prison is of immense historic and emotional value to many Australians, particularly those who were interred there during World War II and their families.

Over many months the Government registered Australia’s interest in having some parts of the old Changi Prison of special symbolic importance to Australia preserved.

The Singapore Government has shown sympathetic understanding of Australian interests in ensuring that part of the old prison is preserved. I know that this has not been an easy matter as Changi remains a working prison and, because of the scarcity of land, there is a need to redevelop the site to make room for new prison facilities.

I am sure that the many Australians who have registered their interest and concern about ensuring that symbolically important parts of the old prison are preserved will join me in welcoming the Singaporean announcement.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny 02 6277 7500/0419 206 890

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