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Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio)

Senator RHIANNON: Mr Varghese, in what countries in Africa is Australia represented by honorary consuls?

Mr Varghese : Could I take that on notice? I do not have that information with me, and I do not think there is anyone in the room who would have it.

Senator RHIANNON: If you do have honorary consuls, could you indicate what their occupations are in the countries that they represent and whether they have any links with mining companies.

Mr Varghese : I am happy to give you the information that we have. I am not intending to conduct an interrogation of our honorary consuls as to-

Senator RHIANNON: Mr Varghese, you know I was not talking about interrogation. I was just talking about information. They are two quite different things. That is quite unfair.

Mr Varghese : Well, in order to get information you have to seek it. I am happy to give you information that I have about our honorary consuls.

Senator RHIANNON: How do you manage the conflict of interest between representatives who have interests in or work with mining companies and diplomatic responsibilities? Are there guidelines?

Mr Varghese : Are you talking about honorary consuls?

Senator RHIANNON: Yes, honorary consuls are a good starting place.

Mr Varghese : I would have to establish whether there was either a conflict of interest or a perceived conflict of interest to begin to manage it.

Senator RHIANNON: My question was whether you have a process. Clearly this could arise periodically, considering the enormous emphasis that there now is on mining in Africa. My question is: do you have a process? Are there any protocols around this?

Mr Varghese : When we appoint an honorary consul we would have regard to the person's standing and we would have regard to any potential conflict of interest. If we thought that that conflict of interest was unmanageable, unsustainable or improper we would not proceed with the appointment.

Senator RHIANNON: Returning to the topic of PNG and Bougainville, I understand PNG banned Australians from travelling to the autonomous region of Bougainville for a period of time. Has that been lifted?

Mr Varghese : We covered this yesterday. There was a ban imposed and it has now been lifted.

Senator RHIANNON: My recollection of when you spoke yesterday about the issue of the announcement of a diplomatic mission to Bougainville you explained that there had been some oversight. If I am using the wrong language, please correct me.

Mr Varghese : I think I said there was a miscommunication.

Senator RHIANNON: Does that miscommunication mean that the PNG government had not been informed?

Mr Varghese : No, it does not mean that the PNG government was not informed. It meant that their foreign minister and Prime Minister were not directly informed.

Senator RHIANNON: So you are saying that the PNG government was aware that a diplomatic mission was to be opened in Bougainville?

Mr Varghese : I did go over this ground yesterday.

Senator RHIANNON: There is a reason why I am asking this. I am trying to establish the timelines here.

Mr Varghese : I did also go through the timelines yesterday. I mentioned that back in December last year the foreign minister had foreshadowed to a senior minister in the PNG government our wish to expand our presence in Buka. I explained that our high commissioner had, in the days before the budget, briefed senior officials in the PNG government, but that the high commissioner, in the days before the budget, did not have an opportunity personally to brief the foreign minister of PNG and the Prime Minister of PNG before the budget announcement.

Senator RHIANNON: I would like to move on to South Sudan. Could we start with the aid budget to South Sudan for the current financial year and the next financial year?

Mr McDonald : Mr Innes-Brown will need to help us on that.

Mr Innes-Brown : Your question was humanitarian assistance to South Sudan, is that correct?

Senator RHIANNON: It was the overseas aid budget. I would like to start with the overseas aid budget allocation overall for the current financial year and the next financial year.

Mr McDonald : South Sudan is included, as you are probably aware, in our allocation for sub-Saharan African. The total aid flow, as I mentioned yesterday, for that this year was around $186 million-or $186.something million, but I can clarify that for you. This year will be around $93 million, and I can give you the exact figure. In terms of the bilateral program, the figure-

Senator RHIANNON: Are we now talking about bilateral with South Sudan?

Mr McDonald : No, sub-Saharan Africa. That is the way we allocate. It is $106 million in 2014-15 and it is $31.8 million in 2015-16.

Senator RHIANNON: Within that, could you provide a figure for South Sudan?

Mr McDonald : In terms of the bilateral program, I think we would have to take that on notice. We do not have that. We certainly are able to give a breakdown on our humanitarian expenditure overall in sub-Saharan Africa.

Senator RHIANNON: Can you take it on notice to provide the overall level of assistance. It would be useful to hear about the humanitarian aid and the trend over a couple of years.

Mr McDonald : I am happy to take that on notice.

Senator RHIANNON: I thought Mr Innes-Brown said that he had those figures.

Mr McDonald : I am sorry, my apologies. Yes, I think we have got those.

Mr Innes-Brown : Yes, I have got those. For this year, thus far we have given $16.4 million for South Sudan in humanitarian assistance. Last year, the similar figure was $13.4 million. We have provided $29.8 million in humanitarian assistance since the beginning of the crisis and the outbreak of conflict in late 2013.

Senator RHIANNON: I realise that there are obviously great complexities when you are deciding where to allocate the aid. But considering that there has been coverage and that some people in Australia are returning to South Sudan to participate in the civil war, do you take advice from community leaders in the South Sudanese community in Australia with regard to how that humanitarian aid can most effectively be used?

Mr McDonald : Mr Isbister will be able to talk through the process we use, not only in South Sudan but across the board, in terms of our humanitarian allocations. They look at what other partners are doing, they look at access, they look at who is on the ground and can provide the support we need. But Mr Isbister would be able to elaborate for you.

Mr Isbister : In terms of looking at how we respond, particularly to protracted crises such as in South Sudan, one of the key issues, obviously, is looking at organisations that have got access to those communities that are most affected and most vulnerable as a result of the crisis. The department consults through its posts in terms of organisations and partners that are in the best position to respond to that. We have strong relationships with the NGOs here in Australia and overseas and, as part of that, have an understanding of who is best positioned to respond to those needs. We have a standing arrangement with six Australian NGOs through a humanitarian partnership agreement where we have predetermined the capability of different organisations to respond to crises. So, when a situation like South Sudan occurs, we are in a position to look at how we best support those efforts. But often, to be frank, the most critical thing is not having too many players responding or undermining coordination efforts in a situation like South Sudan. A lot of it is working with trusted partners, whether it is UN, NGOs or the Red Cross, who have longstanding networks and relationships in place to meet those needs on the ground.

Senator RHIANNON: You spoke about strong relationships with NGOs, and then you talked about the standing relationships with six NGOs. Do any of those organisations have members from the South Sudanese community in Australia? I am trying to understand if you consult with the South Sudanese community in this country with regard to aid we are taking to their country.

Mr Isbister : Certainly I cannot give you a list of the members of the different organisations that we support, but I know that organisations like Oxfam, Caritas, World Vision and others have close relationships with diaspora communities and often get support from those communities in terms of fundraising events here in Australia. Obviously, as I said, those select organisations are ones that we believe are in the best position to respond to needs through the NGO network beyond what we might do through the UN or Red Cross.

Senator RHIANNON: Just to clarify, it sounds like they are all aid organisations, not South Sudanese community organisations. Is that right?

Mr Isbister : The six organisations that we have determined are all international humanitarian development agencies, yes.

Senator RHIANNON: Mr Varghese, do you have a position when we are in these very challenging situations with recently established countries where there is a conflict and there are people here who have expertise? Do you reach out to these people at all, this being obviously a clear example of that? Is that part of how you work?

Mr Varghese : If I understood correctly what Mr Isbister was saying, he was saying that, while we do not consult directly with South Sudanese community groups in Australia, the NGO partners with whom we work do have very close contact with a range of groups, including community groups. So the input is there even if it is one step removed.

Senator RHIANNON: Is that an assumption or is that something you ensure when you are working with these aid NGOs about South Sudan? Is that something that you tick off immediately-that they actually are taking advice from people who have a high level of understanding of the complexities that you in delivering humanitarian aid will face? Do you actively ask that question?

Mr Varghese : I am not sure we do a 'tick the box' checklist in the way that you are suggesting, but I think the point Mr Isbister makes strikes me as a very relevant point, which is that the NGOs we work with themselves have these close links. If the burden of your question is, 'Is there a means through which those views are channelled into the ultimate decisions on humanitarian programs?' then, as I said, it may be one step removed but it nevertheless exists.

Senator RHIANNON: Thank you. With regard to the assistance provided to South Sudan, could you also detail what amount of assistance is given to the extractives sector in that country?

Mr McDonald : We will take that on notice.

Senator RHIANNON: With regard to the questions you are taking on notice about the budget, could you provide an overall figure for South Sudan, and within that overall figure a breakdown of the aid that is going to humanitarian causes, to the extractive industries and to NGOs so that we can get a clearer overview of how that money is divided up?

Mr McDonald : As I said earlier, we will take that on notice. We do not provide money to extractive industries. We provide money to countries within Sub-Saharan Africa.

Senator RHIANNON: I have one that I understand comes from your web site: assistance is given to regulate and manage the extractive sector, to give business increased certainty, while improving mining revenue, management and overall governance.

Mr McDonald : That is what we are taking on notice in terms of the breakdown, unless Mr Innes-Brown has that handy. But that is the breakdown I think you were looking for in terms of our expenditure.

Senator RHIANNON: Maybe I just misheard. I thought you said you do not give money to-

Mr McDonald : To extractive industries-sorry, I was just being very specific that we do not give money directly in to extractive companies and the like. We give it to the countries.

Senator RHIANNON: To regulate the industry?

Mr McDonald : Correct. I just wanted to make that point clear.

Senator RHIANNON: Which is probably a good opportunity to move on to the Mining for Development Initiative. I know that was a previous program. Is there an overall program that is looking at how to assist the extractive industries. I was particularly also interested in what is happening generally, and also where it is up to with Afghanistan?

Mr McDonald : On that, the people responsible will be here tonight in the trade area. I can confirm that the Mining for Development Centre Initiative ends at the end of this financial year. As you would recall that was a four-year program. I think there is now work being done on what options are available to provide support going forward. But I think it would be better in terms of giving you the answers you are looking for, if it is raised later today when the trade area is here.

Senator RHIANNON: Does that mean that there will no longer be a component from the aid budget for any similar programs? Is that what you are suggesting?

Mr McDonald : No, what I was saying is that the existing centre, which, as you know, is with the University of Western Australia and the University of Queensland, comes to completion at the end of this financial year. That particular model is not continuing on, and the department is currently scoping what support it provides in relation to this going forward. I do not have that detail myself, which is why I suggested that if you raise that tonight they will be able to provide you with an update of where that is up to.

Senator RHIANNON: Could you provide an update about any assistance from the overseas development program for mining work in Afghanistan?

Mr McDonald : I do not have that with me.

Senator RHIANNON: That is what you will take on notice?

Mr McDonald : Yes, I will take it on notice and we will provide you with information on our expenditure in relation to extractives in the program, across the board.


Mr Varghese : I wonder if we could report back on the question that Senator Rhiannon asked. I know she is not in the room, but she did ask some questions about honorary consul, and we have some information we can share with the committee. I will ask Mr Philp to do that.

Mr Philp : Senator Rhiannon asked about honorary consuls in sub-Saharan Africa. Our figure show that we have 12 honorary consul positions in sub-Saharan Africa, including Djibouti, of which 11 are currently occupied. There is a 12th which has been temporarily closed since 2010. Senator Rhiannon was also interested in whether we capture information about their interests, particularly mining interests, and the answer is yes, we do. We expect all DFAT officers, of course, to report on any potential conflict of interest, and as part of that we keep what is in fact a spreadsheet which records whether any of them in their private business capacities have mining interests. Of the 11 honorary consuls, five of them have declared mining interests.

CHAIR: Thank you very much for that.


Senator RHIANNON: In the aid program performance report 2013-14, DFAT outlines risks and challenges for Bougainville. The report does not include heightened contention surrounding the proposed reopening of the Panguna mine. Considering that I have noted that AusAid consultants Ian Scales and Raoul Craemer and USAID have identified the mine's reopening as arguably the greatest risk in Bougainville at present, could you explain why this venture has not been specifically identified by DFAT as a risk in its 2013-14 report?

Mr Varghese : I will see if there is someone who is familiar with the detail of the report who might be able to respond.

Mr Sloper : I did not get the full question. I am sorry.

Senator RHIANNON: It is in regard to the aid program performance report 2013-14. I note that DFAT outlines risks and challenges in Bougainville, but it does include the heightened contention around the reopening of the Panguna mine. I detailed that I understand that two AusAID consultants, Ian Scales and Raoul Craemer, and USAID have identified that the mine's reopening is arguably the greatest security risk in Bougainville at present. We know what a massive war that civil war in the 1990s was-15,000 to 20,000 people were killed. It is seen as the largest conflict in the Pacific since the Second World War, and it was clearly linked with the mine. So I was hoping that you could share with us why it was not included as destabilising and high risk for Bougainville.

Mr Sloper : I think we would agree that the issue of the mine is contentious, both in Bougainville and more broadly in terms of how it is managed within Papua New Guinea. So it is a risk in that sense, but it is probably one of many risks that we would see that we face in our broader program in Papua New Guinea in terms of the governance challenges. I would note that the priorities that we address through the aid program are those that are agreed both by the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Papua New Guinea government. In terms of the effectiveness of the report itself, I cannot provide a specific comment now as to why it was not included.

Senator RHIANNON: So did you say that you could not comment on why it was not included?

Mr Sloper : Other than that it is one of many risks we face within our program and we do not-

Senator RHIANNON: Why can't you comment on why it was not included?

Mr Sloper : The purpose of our program in both Bougainville and Papua New Guinea is to support economic growth and prosperity. Particularly in Bougainville, we are looking to provide stability, and our program is aiming at addressing some of the tensions that I think you are referring to-

Senator RHIANNON: I am sorry; I am short of time. You just said that it is to address stability, and the DFAT report outlines risks and challenges. When you bring those two things together, it is just extraordinary that you do not address the issue of conflict, particularly as we know it has been a conflict in the past. So could you explain why it is not included or could Mr Varghese explain why it is was not included as a risk?

Mr McDonald : I do not think that Mr Sloper was saying that it was not a risk; it is one of the risks that we identify and that we deal with Bougainville on. In terms of the report itself-I think your question was why it was not included in that-we cannot give you a definitive answer on that at the moment. We need to consider that and respond to that. Mr Sloper is not the author of that report; another part of the department is.

Senator RHIANNON: So you are happy to take that on notice?

Mr McDonald : I am happy to take that on notice.

Senator RHIANNON: Does DFAT have any plans to fund further activities associated with the reopening of the Panguna mine? Has DFAT earmarked aid funds to maintain the mine negotiations adviser position?

Mr Sloper : We do not provide any funding to support the opening of the Panguna mine. What we do is provide funding to a range of organisations, primarily through the Autonomous Bougainville Government, so that they can address those issues in consultation with the national government of Papua New Guinea. In regard to the specific adviser position that you mentioned, that contract finished earlier this calendar year. At this stage, we have no plans to reopen it.

Senator RHIANNON: Are any of the positions associated with the Panguna mine reopening funded by DFAT over the coming year? I heard the first part of your answer, but, if you are funding somebody whose primary work then is associated with the mine, surely that should be included in a response to that question?

Mr Sloper : We do not fund anybody who is directly working in anything for the mining company associated with the Panguna mine; we fund positions within the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

Senator RHIANNON: What about indirectly?

Mr Sloper : No, we fund positions within the Autonomous Bougainville Government who are advisers to that government on issues that could include mining, but we do not provide any funding to positions working with any commercial entity around that mine.

Senator RHIANNON: Could you take on notice to provide details of the funding that is provided for positions that are indirectly associated with the Panguna mine?

Mr Sloper : I can take that on notice, but I would just note that yesterday I gave you an answer to that question-in my evidence last night. I can reiterate that now, if you wish.

Senator RHIANNON: No, I just want to get it all together-thank you very much. Also, on the role that the Australian government had in drafting the mining act: could you detail, please, any involvement of Australian government staff or advisers or consultants funded by the Australian government?

Mr Sloper : As far as I can recall, we funded one position which helped draft that legislation while he was working as an adviser to the Autonomous Bougainville Government. That legislation was prepared for that autonomous government following consultation with local communities.

Senator RHIANNON: You said 'in consultation with the local communities'. What was the Australian government's role in the consultation process for the act? And could you detail the financial assistance for that, please.

Mr Sloper : Again, it would be the funding for that one adviser, and we provided that to you previously in evidence.

Senator RHIANNON: So it is only that one adviser?

Mr Sloper : As far as I can recall. I can check and confirm that to you, but that position was provided specifically for advice on that issue.

Senator RHIANNON: Okay, if you can take that on notice, thank you. Are you confident that the consultation process was robust and independent?

Mr Sloper : That consultation process was undertaken by the Autonomous Bougainville Government, not by the Australian government. My understanding is that they are comfortable with that, as is the Papua New Guinean government in terms of those consultation processes-and that legislation has now passed, I think.

Senator RHIANNON: Yes, it has. Considering there has been a level of Australian government involvement through the funding of that position, was a risk assessment conducted on the legislation's potential impact on the security environment?

Mr Sloper : There was not a risk assessment undertaken by the Australian government. That is legislation that was passed by the Autonomous Bougainville Government, so I think it is better a question directed to either the Bougainville government or the national government.

Senator RHIANNON: But when you fund a position and it is on a critical piece of legislation which is about reopening a mine that resulted in a civil war where 15,000 to 20,000 people died, and it is on our doorstep, it is clearly a security risk as well as a humanitarian issue. Wouldn't a risk assessment be part of the terms on which you hand over that money for that position?

Mr Sloper : Perhaps I can clarify the arrangement. We provided an adviser to the Autonomous Bougainville Government to meet a requirement they had identified in terms of drafting legislation and consulting with communities on the mine. It was not specifically for the purpose of reopening the Panguna mine; it was to provide technical advice to the Autonomous Bougainville Government on how they wished to address that legislative draft and community process. The judgements around that, and whether the mine should open or not, are really a decision for the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the national government in consultation with each other and their local communities.

Senator RHIANNON: But isn't it the case that Australia spent over a million dollars funding a strategic and legal adviser to the Autonomous Bougainville Government, a Mr Anthony Regan, and that this adviser has strongly lobbied for the recently passed Bougainville Mining Act and has been very critical of local and international critics; therefore, there has been somebody who has been funded to the tune of $1 million and has been a strong advocate for this position?

Mr Sloper : I would not agree with your characterisation of that position.

Senator RHIANNON: What part of it do you disagree with, please?

Mr Sloper : I think Mr Regan's role was working directly to the Autonomous Bougainville Government. I would not comment on him being an advocate for or against legislation. He was working to the direction of the Autonomous Bougainville Government as an adviser. Can I just make a comment in terms of the context of assistance to Bougainville. As you know, it is almost $50 million per annum-it will be $50 million next year-within which education, health, law and justice, transport, infrastructure, governance and peace building, election support, agriculture, gender, youth and sport all featured across that broad spectrum. The focus of this particular discussion is not a predominate theme with our aid for that island and the Autonomous Bougainville Government. It is one element of a much larger program.

Senator RHIANNON: Thank you for that clarification. With regard to Mr Regan, is he also employed through the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program to advise the Australian government on Bougainville?

Mr Sloper : No.

Senator RHIANNON: Is it that the position does not exist or he does not have that position?

Mr Sloper : He works for that group within the Australian National University, but it has no formal advisory role other than that we consult with a range of academics across Australia who have experiences in Papua New Guinea and he is one of those we consult with.

Senator RHIANNON: State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program's most recent annual report states:

Anthony Regan regularly participates in consultations with a specially convened group in DFAT, chaired by the Deputy Secretary, DFAT. This group monitors political, social, and economic issues in Bougainville.
So I go back to my question: isn't he being employed?

Mr Sloper : No. My answer remains 'no'. I am aware of that reference-

Senator RHIANNON: So he is not giving advice to DFAT?

Mr Sloper : I am aware of that reference in the annual report. I have met Mr Regan, as have some of my colleagues in the Pacific Division, as we do with a range of academics. He has no formal role in terms of consulting or advising us.

Senator RHIANNON: No formal role? Informal?

Mr Sloper : No. I mean, as I said, he is one of a range of academics we consult with not only on Bougainville but also on broader issues in Papua New Guinea both here at the ANU and at other institutions throughout Australia.

Senator RHIANNON: In response to a previous question on notice dated 26 February this year, DFAT notes: 'DFAT officials meet regularly with landowners in Bougainville, including in the Panguna mine area, to listen to their views and to inform Australia's ongoing development activities.' Are you able to identify which villages in the Panguna region Australian government officials have visited in the last year?

Mr Sloper : I cannot provide that detail. We have people on the island working on a daily basis with a whole range of communities-it would be an extraordinary diversion of resources. I can take it on notice, but to go through and document where each individual goes would be quite a large exercise-we have a large number of people on the island all the time.

Senator RHIANNON: But surely that is what your people are doing and they report back about the work they are doing; that they have been to villages or they have met with mining officials or they have met with a school. Surely, you have that information.

Mr Sloper : We do not collate the individual visits on a regular basis. We get consolidated reports from them on their interactions, and we draw upon those as we require.

Senator RHIANNON: Could you take it on notice and provide what you are able to in response to that question please?

Mr Sloper : I will take that on notice.

Senator RHIANNON: What does the word 'regularly' mean?

Mr Sloper : As I just suggested, the frequency for some of them would be very regularly-every week or every two weeks. We have people on the island consulting with communities regularly. I would stress again that that is not focused on mining; that is a whole range of communities with regard to a whole range of programs, as I outlined earlier.

Senator RHIANNON: I would like to move on to Papua New Guinea. In 2015, DFAT published the assessment A new direction for Australian aid in PNG: refocusing Australian aid to help unlock PNG's economic potential. The assessment argues for the need to reprioritise aid, as you would obviously be aware. In particular, it sets out the following goal:

Reprioritise 30 per cent of the current aid program, over the coming three years, to fund initiatives focused on private sector-led growth and aid for trade. Savings to fund these new initiatives could be sourced from phased reductions to basic service delivery activities ...
Could you identify the particular areas that would come under 'phased reductions to basic service delivery'?

Mr Sloper : I will need to take that on notice for the specifics. I would note that we are not moving away from the education and health sectors; what we are doing is moving away from providing some of those services directly ourselves and to support the PNG systems to mobilise their own resources to deliver in those sectors. I can take those specifics on notice.

Senator RHIANNON: The way you phrased your response may suggest that the level of involvement in the education and health sector is reduced. Is that the case?

Mr Sloper : I will take that on notice. Off the top of my head, this year, for example, we have devoted over $100 million out of approximately $505 million at a whole-of-government level to this sector.

Senator RHIANNON: To health and education?

Mr Sloper : To health. Education would be an additional $136.5 million in the 2014-15 budget.

Senator RHIANNON: What were the previous ones?

Mr Sloper : I do not have that breakdown here.

Senator RHIANNON: I will ask you to take it on notice so that we get it all together-the 2013-14 and the 2014-15. In your initial answer to the question you said that you are still funding these sectors but that now you are funding the business sector coming in to deliver these programs. Is that the difference?

Mr Sloper : No. We are working to support the PNG system itself-that is, the government sector-to deliver some of these services.

Senator RHIANNON: Who delivered them previously?

Mr Sloper : We funded direct delivery of some of those services ourselves through aid development partners.

Senator RHIANNON: So you now find the PNG government, with it earmarked that they must fund health programs with that money?

Mr Sloper : I would like to take that on notice in terms of specifics, because how we deliver it within the health sector varies in different locations.

Senator RHIANNON: I am trying to understand the difference and if it has decreased in quantity. I understood that you did that a great deal at any rate. Huge amounts of money go to the PNG government; it always has, hasn't it?

Mr Sloper : According to the sector, it varies. I think it would be best if I came back to you on notice.

Senator RHIANNON: Thank you. The assessment also issues the following objective: increase aid investments in Bougainville as a greater proportion of the bilateral PNG program. Has that been achieved?

Mr Sloper : That is occurring through the transition from this financial year to the next one. As we have talked about before, it will increase to approximately $50 million next year. That is within the total PNG allocation, if you like, and that has been agreed as a priority with both the national government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

Senator RHIANNON: I was interested in whether there are specific initiatives that we would now be funding, with a greater proportion going to the Autonomous Bougainville Government, or whether it is again an injection of money to the Autonomous Bougainville Government and they determine how that will be used?

Mr Sloper : The allocations for next year's programs are still being developed. We have not finalised all of them. I need to take that on notice. But a lot of the programs are not directly funding the Autonomous Bougainville Government. Some of them are in addition to that, through the national programs we do in PNG but now directing some of those programs towards that region.

Senator RHIANNON: I think it would be useful also to help understanding in this area if you could provide the breakdown here. Of the money going into PNG and the money going into Bougainville, what is going directly to the government and the government determines how it is going to be used?

Mr Sloper : We provided a table in response to question 58 on 26 February at last additional estimates. We could do an updated table for you if you would like.

Senator RHIANNON: That would be very useful. The assessment also underlines the significant investment in infrastructure that Australia hopes to make. It notes:

Australia should support the PNG Government's goal of delivering infrastructure that will encourage economic growth.
What type of infrastructure has been prioritised and what is being done to ensure that land confiscations that often go with infrastructure projects preferably do not occur, or how do you plan to manage those?

Mr Sloper : I might answer that with an example. Some of the work we do in infrastructure is on the maintenance of roads, which provides opportunities for economic linkages for the communities. In terms of our aid programs, we have a range of safeguards put in place. I can take on notice and provide you with a copy of some of those guidelines.

Senator RHIANNON: I was particularly interested in this. If there are evictions with infrastructure projects, will the government ensure they meet the UN basic principles and guidelines on the development based evictions and displacement policy that they have?

Mr Sloper : I do not have the guidelines here with me, but I can take that on notice and address that point.

Senator RHIANNON: Thank you.


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