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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office

Annual Report 1999-2000

Output E CTBT Implementation

Operation of the national authority for implementation of the CTBT, including development of CTBT verification and arrangements in support of Australias CTBT commitments.

Milestone E1

E1.1     Operate effectively as the national point of liaison with the CTBTO and other States in relation to the fulfilment of Australias obligations under the CTBT.

In March, Mr Downer signed an arrangement during the visit by Dr Hoffman

In March 2000, Mr Downer signed an arrangement during the visit by Dr Hoffmann

E1.2     Facilitation and enhancement of Australias technical contributions to the work of the Preparatory Commission and its working groups.

Activities

ASNO commenced its activities as Australias CTBT national authority in July 1998. As the Treaty and Australias implementing legislation are not yet in force, and the Treaty has only provisional application, ASNO does not carry out the full range of anticipated legal functions. Practical work on development of the CTBT's verification system ahead of entry into force is however significant and advancing steadily. ASNO has established and continues to develop contacts with the CTBTOs Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) and with Australian governments, agencies and institutions with a stake in CTBT activities, especially the development of the International Monitoring System (IMS). Annex I lists Australian IMS stations.

To facilitate the development of Australian IMS stations, ASNO concluded the negotiation during the year of a Facility Arrangement with the CTBTO Preparatory Commission. This Arrangement sets out requirements and procedures governing the establishment, upgrade and operation of IMS stations in Australia. The estimated value of these activities is $25 million over the coming five years. The Facility Arrangement was signed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Downer, and the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Dr Wolfgang Hoffmann, during Dr Hoffmann's visit to Australia in March 2000.

Australian IMS stations will be operated on behalf of the Government by organisations with specialist expertise in CTBT verification, such as ARPANSA, the Australian Geological Survey Organisation (AGSO) and the Australian National University (ANU).

The single largest IMS project in Australia will be the establishment of a hydroacoustic monitoring station off Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia (see page 76 of this report for a background article on the station). ASNO worked closely during the year with the PTS, with Western Australian government agencies, and with the consortium installing the station, to facilitate agreement on work proceeding in 2000-2001.

ASNO took part in technical working group sessions at the Preparatory Commission headquarters in Vienna in September 1999 and February and May 2000, and works closely with Australias technical specialists (from AGSO and ARPANSA) who have contributed over many years to the negotiation and development of the Treaty. ASNO's own long experience in treaty verification is now contributing in particular to work establishing procedures for the conduct of an On Site Inspection (OSI). The role of an OSI is to establish, through activities on the ground, whether an explosive nuclear test has been carried out in violation of the CTBT.

Performance Assessment

ASNO has developed effective liaison with stakeholders in the IMS development process, with useful results during the year advancing preparation for entry into force of the CTBT.

Conclusion by ASNO of Australia's IMS facility arrangement has been widely welcomed among stakeholders, as have developments paving the way for establishment of new IMS stations in Australia.

The signature of Australia's Facility Arrangement, as well as the announcement of contracts for installation of the hydroacoustic station off Cape Leeuwin, offered useful opportunities for Mr Downer to underline Australia's ongoing commitment to the CTBT.

Australia is widely regarded as making a key contribution to the technical development of the CTBT and its verification. ASNO has worked successfully to co-ordinate Australia's input in this area during the year and, drawing on its own areas of expertise, to make a substantial contribution.

Milestone E2

Timely establishment and maintenance of legal and administrative mechanisms which will give effect to CTBT obligations in Australia.

Activities

Although the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Act 1998 received Royal Assent on 2 July 1998, under section 2 of the Act it will not come into force before the day the CTBT enters into force, which will occur 180 days after the Treaty has been ratified by 44 named States. At 30 June 2000, 155 States had signed the treaty, of which 57 had deposited instruments of ratification. These included 29 of the named 44.

The CTBTO PTS manages the development of the IMS internationally and funds the upgrade or establishment of stations from the contributions of CTBT signatories. To facilitate this work, Australia signed a Facility Arrangement with the CTBTO Preparatory Commission on 11 March 2000 (see also page 76). ASNO managed the preparation of regulations establishing privileges and immunities required by this arrangement. The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (Privileges and Immunities) Regulations 2000 were gazetted on 1 June 2000.

Consistent with principles set out in the CTBT, activities associated with the development of its verification are funded primarily from the contributions of signatories. This includes training of people involved with the work of the Treaty. ASNO coordinates the involvement of Australians in this training. During the year three Australians took part in training for future responsibilities as station operators, or as inspectors to be deployed should the Treatys On-site Inspection provisions be invoked.

Performance Assessment

With the conclusion of Australia's Facility Arrangement and associated regulations, the legal basis for IMS establishment activities in Australia prior to entry into force of the CTBT has been advanced. A further step for 2000-01 will be to put in place arrangements between the Australian Government and technical agencies or institutions that will operate IMS stations on Australia's behalf.

The training and experience, gained both in Australia and overseas, that has accompanied development and maintenance of the CTBTs verification mechanism has provided ASNO with opportunities to nurture a base of expertise in nuclear monitoring and verification issues.

Return to the ASNO Annual Report Index | Output FNew Non-Proliferation Regimes

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