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South East Asian Summit.

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Labor welcomes the inclusion of energy security, regional disaster management and Avian Influenza on the agenda of the East Asia Summit.

The East Asia Summit is a significant opportunity to achieve regional progress on reducing carbon emissions which contribute to climate change.

Mr Howard should engage regional partners - including India and China - in focused climate change action that includes emission reduction targets.

Mr Howard should take to the Summit Labor’s proposals to generate greater regional cooperation on natural disaster management and combating Bird Flu.

In September last year, Labor proposed that Australia should launch a diplomatic initiative to push for the establishment of a Regional Disaster Coordination Authority to be headquartered in Darwin or Townsville.

Natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis pose logistical and humanitarian challenges for our friends and neighbours in the region.

Australia is well placed to make a practical contribution to the region through the hosting of Regional Disaster Coordination Authority.

Such an authority would increase cooperation and coordination of responses to natural disasters and would also help to strengthen relationships between key emergency service agencies in the region.

Labor has also proposed a diplomatic initiative to coordinate regional responses to the threat of Bird Flu. In September 2005 Labor released a five point plan which included:

• Hosting a regional Ministerial-level meeting on Avian Influenza;

• Assisting in the development of community-level surveillance networks;

• Providing increased technical assistance through the CSIRO to increase the diagnostic capacity of regional neighbours;

• Establishing a regional compensation fund: and

• Negotiating agreements with host countries for the proper provision of emergency assistance to Australians in affected countries.

It is time for Mr Howard to take these two practical proposals to the East Asia Summit.

Contact: Lachlan Harris 0417 592 338