Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia

ASNO

  Annual Report 1998-99

 

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES

ASNO’s activities in 199899 are described and evaluated in the following sections.

Activities are described in relation to particular tasks, and grouped according to the output to which they relate (see summary of outcomes and outputs).

OUTPUT H

Provision of public information on the development, management and regulation of WMD non-proliferation treaties, and Australia’s role in these activities.

Milestone H1

Management of an effective program to inform and educate the public on nuclear safeguards and CWC issues, and promotion of an understanding of the CTBT and its verification arrangements.

Activities

  • The Annual Report continues to be the main vehicle for dissemination of information to the public on matters dealt with by ASNO. This is sent to all known interested parties, including individuals upon request.
  • ASNO has published articles in journals and given presentations during 1998/99 (see Annex I).
  • ASNO has a homepage to provide information to the public through the Internet address http://www.asno.dfat.gov.au. This website is currently under reconstruction. Some items have been removed pending revision and the website is expected to be fully revised and on-line by mid-2000.
  • ASNO received and responded to a number of requests for information from members of the public and the media.
  • A media release in August 1998 gave the public information on the formation of ASNO and its role in encompassing ASO, CWCO and ACTBO (see media release).

Nuclear Safeguards Activities

  • John Carlson spoke on safeguards and nuclear regulation issues at an ANSTO Public Forum on 10 June 1999.
  • John Carlson has provided the media with background briefings and participated in a number of radio programs.
  • Basic details of permits issued, revoked and varied under the Safeguards Act are published in the Commonwealth Government Gazette.

CWC Related Activities

ASNO continued to ensure that operators of facilities which might be affected by the Convention were informed of their obligations, including through the updating of the ASNO Internet site, which can be found at http://www.asno.dfat.gov.au.

A number of explanatory guides, including the CWC industry guide booklet (first prepared in 1996) have been updated to reflect evolving legislative and administrative arrangements for the CWC. This booklet is available from the ASNO website.

Dr Shaw participated in the first Australian Chemicals Summit, held in Sydney from 10 to 11 August 1998. The chemical industry focus of the meeting provided a useful occasion for ASNO to raise industry awareness of the CWC and concomitant domestic legislative requirements, and to identify possible new facilities requiring permits under the Act.

Further, Dr Shaw was invited to present a CWC lecture at the 2nd Annual Meeting of the Australian Algal Toxin Research Network, held in Hobart from 11 to 12 February 1999. The presentation sought to explain why the CWC was unintentionally hampering legitimate access to the Schedule 1 chemical saxitoxin, used in Australia for medical and pharmacological research, and what efforts the Australian Government had undertaken in collaboration with other States Parties to address this problem in the OPCW.

CTBT Related Activities

The CTBTO-PTS is preparing a promotional film for release in late 1999. In June 1999, ASNO facilitated the visit of a film crew to two IMS stations in Australia. (see photo below)

ASNO has started a project to update its Internet site which will include the creation of public information material on the CTBT and its verification.

Performance Assessment

ASNO has released some papers and treaty (or convention) details on its Internet site. This information is also available directly from ASNO on request.

Specific nuclear issues were presented or published in several national and international public fora.

An assessment of ASNO’s dealings with industry shows that the dissemination of information material has fostered an acceptance and broader understanding of the CWC and its verification mechanism. This is illustrated by the responsiveness of most companies and organisations to ASNO’s enquiries, which is clearly greater than when detailed outreach started in 1994–95.

Through the active and ongoing outreach program, an additional seven facilities in Australia were identified as requiring permits under the Act in 1998–99.

The presentation at the algal toxin conference was well received. Gratitude was expressed that a Commonwealth government official had made the effort to address the conference, and an invitation to participate in the third workshop was issued.

ASNO facilitated the Australian component of filming for a CTBT promotional film being produced for the CTBTO-PTS and due for public release shortly.

Film crew at Warramunga’s central data facility
Photograph courtesy of the ANU
 

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