Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence
List of Recommendations
The Peace Negotiations and the Prospects for a Permanent Peace
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government ensure that the Peace Process Consultative Committee, under the chairmanship of the UN Observer Mission, is given all necessary support from external observer representatives to enable that body to maintain a clear focus on outcomes from the peace negotiations.
The Committee recommends that the Minister for Foreign Affairs consider increasing the level of Australia's contribution to the shared-costs arrangement in support of the Peace Process Steering Committee, in order to enhance the prospects of maintaining the momentum of the peace process and reporting on progress with the negotiations between the parties.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government examine with regional partners further opportunities to facilitate mutual understanding between all the parties to the peace negotiations, with particular reference to ensuring the future political stability of Bougainville.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government consider relatively low cost initiatives such as contributing to the availability of satellite telephones for key participants in the negotiations, in the interest of facilitating dialogue and thereby reducing potential for misunderstandings to occur between the parties.
Chapter 5 Contribution of the Truce and Peace Monitoring Groups
The Committee recommends that supplementation of the Department of Defence's annual budget be provided to cover the additional costs of Australia's contribution to the Peace Monitoring Group operation.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government, in conjunction with regional partners in the Peace Process Steering Committee, develop clear indicators for the phasing out and eventual withdrawal of the Peace Monitoring Group.
The Committee recommends that a ministerial statement to the Parliament follow cabinet's three-monthly review of the situation in Bougainville.
The Committee recommends that the PPSC meet regularly, at least quarterly.
The committee recommends that the Crimes (Overseas) Act 1964 be amended to extend its jurisdiction to Australian civilians serving overseas in situations not covered by the agreement of the United Nations.
The Committee recommends that section 3 of the Crimes (Overseas) Act 1964 be amended to apply the Act to 'Australian citizens and residents (other than Defence Force members) serving overseas under a "prescribed arrangement" '.
The Committee also recommends that the amended section 3 be followed by a definition of 'prescribed arrangement,' to include:
- An arrangement made between the Commonwealth and the United Nations;
- An arrangement, as specified in the Regulations, made between the Commonwealth and another country;
- An arrangement under which the person is serving as an Australian diplomatic or consular official.
The Committee recommends a consequential amendment to paragraph 4(b), replacing 'under arrangements between the United Nations and the government of that country' with 'a prescribed arrangement'.
Chapter 6 Australia's Aid Program for Bougainville
The Committee recommends that, in the special circumstances applying to Bougainville at a critical stage in the peace negotiations and reconstruction of its devastated infrastructure, the Australian Government consider the possibility of increasing the overall aid program to Papua New Guinea in order to provide some additional funding for Bougainville.
The Committee recommends that, in conjunction with relevant authorities in Papua New Guinea, AusAID review its development programs designed to enhance coordination and information exchanges with and between indigenous, Australian and international NGOs working in Bougainville, so that existing and developing forums for coordination are supported and enhanced.
The Committee recommends that AusAID examine the feasibility of enhancing the opportunities for local contractors and employees to benefit from engagement in larger aid projects by dividing such projects into smaller components.
The Committee recommends that AusAID review capacity within the aid program for Bougainville, to enhance opportunities to respond quickly and flexibly to identified community need for small-scale assistance projects.
The Committee recommends that AusAID review the administrative guidelines and processing procedures for project funding and also consider increasing the resources available to Bougainville communities, in order to assist community groups to prepare proposals for aid projects and to comply with the relevant administrative and accountability guidelines associated with small-scale aid projects.
The Committee recommends that, building on the experience of projects such as the pilot Bougainville District Development Officer Scheme, AusAID give priority to increasing the administrative capacities of community leaders and community groups, in order to enable maximum access to be gained to available funding assistance, and to increase local skills in liaison, evaluation and other administrative tasks.
The Committee recommends that AusAID give particular priority to the provision of recurrent funding assistance for projects in Bougainville which have key significance for achieving a permanent peace settlement, for example law and order issues addressed by supporting salaries funding for trained auxiliary police.
The Committee recommends that AusAID ensure that there are explicit programs designed to enable women to participate fully in all phases of the peace process.
The Committee recommends that AusAID discuss with the Papua New Guinea Government and Bougainville authorities the assignment of greater priority to small, community-based projects designed to develop negotiation, conflict resolution and counselling skills within Australia's development assistance programs for Bougainville.
The Committee recommends that AusAID examine the possibility of allocating aid funding for projects designed to assist in rebuilding the archives and library collections of Bougainville by locating relevant material held in Australian collections, and either copying the records or making them available to the Bougainville authorities in some other way.