(Question No. 1954)
Senator Ludlam asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 5 July 2012:
(1) Is the Government providing any financial, technical, preliminary or drafting support towards a regulatory framework for Burma's extractive industries sector:
(a) if so: (i) which government agency is responsible, (ii) what type of assistance is being provided and at what cost, and (iii) how many staff are assigned to the task; and
(b) if not, given there has been a request from the Burmese Government for this type of assistance: (i) have there been any discussions within Australia towards providing support, and (ii) has the Government discussed the provision of this assistance with other members of the international community.
(2) With the increase in Australian aid to Burma, and the commitment to increasing this assistance to $100 million in 2015 is Australia looking to establish a formalised aid agreement with the Burmese Government; if so:
(a) what would this agreement include; and
(b) does the Government intend to provide financial assistance directly to Burmese government departments.
Senator Bob Carr: : The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:
(b) (i) Yes, but analysis of the state of the Burmese extractive industries sector and the prospects for reform is required to inform these discussions. This work is currently under development. (ii) The Government has regular discussions with bilateral donors regarding programs in Burma. In the course of these discussions, some donors have raised the prospect of supporting reform in Burma's extractive industries sector.
(a) The agreement would establish the framework under which Australian aid projects are implemented. It would outline the responsibilities of both governments with respect to the aid program, including: how the governments would coordinate the aid program; aid program personnel; review and evaluation; and facilitating supplies and professional and technical material. It would specify the legal obligations of both governments relating to: tax exemptions; liability; intellectual property rights; security; and transportation costs.
(b) Not at this time.