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Country Reports
Australia, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Key developments since May 2002: In FY 2002/3, Australia estimates spending A$14.5 million (US$8.7 million) on mine action activities, an increase from the previous year. In September 2002, Australia was named co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration.

Mine Ban Policy

Australia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, ratified on 14 January 1999, and the treaty entered into force for the country on 1 July 1999. National implementation legislation, the Anti-Personnel Mines Convention Act 1998, was enacted on 10 December 1998. Responsibility for treaty implementation and compliance is shared among the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Defence, and AusAID (Australia’s International Development Agency).[1]

Australia stopped assembling antipersonnel mines in the early 1980s. It never exported mines. Australia destroyed its stockpile of 128,161 antipersonnel mines in five days in 1999.[2] The Australian Army continues to use and train with command-detonated Claymore mines, and, according to the Department of Defence, has restrictions in place on their use in other than command-detonated mode.[3]

Australia participated in the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002. At the meeting, Australia was named co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, together with Croatia. Australia and Croatia ended their term as co-chairs of the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction in September as well.

Australia continues as an active member of the “Universalization Contact Group.” Australia co-sponsored, together with Canada and Japan, a regional conference in Bangkok, Thailand in May 2002, “to better understand the barriers to accession or ratification for the six non-States Parties in ASEAN.”[4] In 2002, it continued to issue joint demarches, together with Japan, urging holdout states in the region to join the Mine Ban Treaty without delay.[5] Australia also worked with Canada, New Zealand, and Thailand to build support for the treaty in south and South East Asia and in the Pacific.[6] Australia is part of the Bangkok Regional Action Group (BRAG), formed in September 2002 with the aim of promoting landmine ban initiatives in the region in the lead up to the Fifth Meeting of States Parties. The government and the Australian Network of ICBL continued to collaborate on a program to promote universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty in South East Asia. The Australian Network sponsored a meeting of ban campaigners from the region the day before the Bangkok meeting in May 2002.[7]

Australia submitted its fifth Article 7 transparency report on 30 April 2003, covering calendar year 2002. “Form J” includes information on antipersonnel landmines retained for training and details Australia’s contribution to mine action.

Australia voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74 in November 2002, stressing the need for universalization and effective implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Australia participated in the Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) in December 2002, and gave a statement that included support for an additional protocol to address antivehicle mines.[8] Australia also stated its support for a new, legally binding protocol on post-conflict remedial measures to address the humanitarian problems caused by explosive remnants of war (ERW).[9]

Australia’s Special Representative on Mine Action, the Hon. Christine Gallus MP, participated in the launch of Landmine Monitor Report 2002 at an event in Adelaide, South Australia on 13 September 2002. Gallus described the 2002 report as “a very professional document and a testament to those involved in the production.”[10] For the fourth year in a row, the Australian government supported the ICBL’s Landmine Monitor initiative, with a contribution for the 2003 report of A$220,000 (US$133,000).

In 2002, the Australian Network of ICBL continued to promote awareness of landmine issues through representations, exhibitions and speaking engagements. On the anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty’s entry into force for Australia, the Australian Network hosted an event with keynote speaker, Graham Edwards MP, a Vietnam veteran and landmine survivor.[11] In September and October 2002, photojournalist John Rodsted went on a speaking tour following his return from Afghanistan. As part of AUSTCARE’s Refugee Week in October 2002, events in Canberra and Adelaide raised awareness of mine action activities. In December 2002, the director of the Cambodia Trauma Care Foundation, Yang Van Heng, toured Australia with Liz Hobbs, Victim Assistance Advisor to the Australian Network. Liz Hobbs, with co-authors Sue McDonough and Ann O’Callaghan, launched their book, Life after injury; a rehabilitation manual for the injured and their helpers, in Adelaide on 1 December.[12] The Night of 1,000 Dinners initiative resulted in a number of events around Australia raising both awareness and funds in the days around 5 December.[13]

On 27 March 2002, Mines, Victims and Clearance (MIVAC), a voluntary organization, was launched in Tasmania. MIVAC’s public awareness and fundraising events in 2002 included a visit in November by Geraldine Cox of the Sunrise Children’s Village in Cambodia.[14] Funds raised will go toward the establishment of a carpentry workshop in Cambodia, which will teach carpentry to landmine survivors.[15]

Joint Operations

The Landmine Monitor Report 1999 reported in detail on Australia’s National Declaration that was deposited with its instrument of ratification, and on Part 2, clause 7(3) of the Anti-personnel Mine Convention Bill.[16] Questions were raised regarding the consistency of the Declaration and clause with the Mine Ban Treaty’s Article 1 prohibition on assisting anyone in any way to engage in any activity prohibited by the treaty.

The participation of Australian soldiers in the Iraq conflict heightened interest in this issue. Australia’s position was elaborated in a document provided by the Australian Embassy to the United States in April 2003: “Australia will not participate in planning or implementation of activities related to anti-personnel mine use in joint operations.... Australia would reject any orders to use anti-personnel mines and has placed limitations on its forces so as not to violate treaty commitments during these joint operations.... In relation to operations in Iraq: The Chief of the Defence Force has full command of the ADF at all times, including all Australian Forces deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations. The commander of the Australian Middle East Area of Operations (Brig. Maurie MacNarn) exercises national command over ADF forces deployed as part of Operation Falconer in the Middle East. At the unit level, ADF forces remain at all times under the command of their Australian commanding officers.... Those members serving with United States forces have received a brief on their obligations under the Ottawa Convention and the Anti-Personnel Mines Convention Act.”[17]

To better understand Australia’s doctrine and practice regarding “assistance,” Landmine Monitor requested a copy of the Australian Defence Force training booklet entitled “Conventions on the Use of Landmines: A Commanders Guide.” Upon being told that, as an operational manual, the booklet is classified, the Landmine Monitor researcher initiated a request in January 2003 under the Freedom of Information Act to gain access. The researcher was informed the document could be reviewed, but the information could not be publicly released.[18]

Mines Retained Under Article 3

In its most recent Article 7 report, Australia listed 7,513 antipersonnel mines retained for training purposes (3,821 M14 blast mines and 3,692 M16 bounding fragmentation mines), a depletion of 213 mines since the previous year. The report notes that there are no detonator assemblies for the M14 mines, and only 100 usable detonator assemblies for the M16 mines. The stocks are kept in small numbers in ammunition depots throughout the country to support regional training; the Army’s School of Military Engineering conducts the training. The report states, “Stock levels will be regularly reviewed and assessed. Only a realistic training quantity is held, and this will be depleted over time. Stocks in excess of this figure will be destroyed on an ongoing basis.”[19]

Mine Action Funding

The Australian government, through its international development agency AusAID, is approaching the completion in December 2005 of its decade-long commitment to provide A$100 million for mine action activities. From January 1996 to Financial Year 2002/2003, AusAID has committed and expended over A$88 million (approximately US$52 million).[20] In December 2002 the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Alexander Downer MP, told the Australian Network, “Any decision on future mine action funding will be taken closer to the end of the current mine action programme which concludes in 2005.”[21]

AusAID Assistance for Mine Action Programs[22]

FY 1995/96 – 2002/03 (in millions)
A$ 88 million

In FY 2002/3, Australia spent an estimated A$14,537,488 million ($8.7 million) toward mine action activities in Afghanistan, Burma, Cambodia, Iraq, Laos, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as to efforts to promote implementation and universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty.[23] This represents an increase of A$2 million from the previous year.

Since September 2001, Australia has contributed A$4 million to mine clearance activities in Afghanistan.[24]

On 23 May 2003, during a visit to Baghdad, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Alexander Downer, announced a contribution of A$1.5 million for assistance in mapping and assessment of mined areas in Iraq, in response to an urgent appeal issued by the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS).[25] The donation also includes early placement of an Australian demining expert within the mine action coordination team established by UNMAS for Iraq. Australian naval deminers undertook limited mine clearance and emergency explosive ordnance disposal on land during the 2003 Iraq conflict.[26]

On 19 June 2003, Foreign Minister Downer announced that Australia would contribute an additional A$2 million for mine clearance in Cambodia by the Cambodian Mine Action Center.[27]

Summary of Government Expenditure and Commitments for FY 2002/2003 (A$)[28]
(1 July 2002 to 30 June 2003)



Mine Clearance

Coordinate and oversee mine clearance

Mine Awareness



Core Funding
Camb. Mine Action Center

Survivor Assistance
Australian Red Cross

Integrated Mine Action
CARE Australia

Mine Clearance

Core Grant
World Vision Australia

Integrated Mine Action
World Vision Australia

Mine Clearance
World Vision Australia

Integrated Mine Action

Core Grant (seminar)



Mine survey and risk assessment

Mine Awareness



Mine/UXO Awareness

Mine/UXO Clearance



Accelerated Demining Program

Mine Clearance

Sri Lanka
Mine Awareness

Mine Awareness

Integrated Mine Action



Australian Network of ICBL

Landmine Monitor, ICBL

Core Grant
Sponsorship Program

Core Grant
Implementation Support Unit

Core Grant
UN Mine Action Service



AUSTCARE is supporting the following programs in 2002/2003: in Angola, A$12,260 for Handicap International Belgium’s prosthetics production work; in Bosnia, A$17,180 to train three national staff and prepare new dogs and handlers; in Cambodia, A$451,871 for mine clearance by HALO Trust in Oddar Meanchey province; in Mozambique, A$523,069 for mine clearance by HALO. [29]

World Vision Australia will allocate A$130,000 annually for three years, beginning in October 2002, to assist persons with disabilities in Cambodia through revolving loan schemes. Funds are provided by AusAID and public appeals. World Vision Australia also supports mine clearance and mine awareness in Cambodia.[30] In December 2002, the government’s collaboration with World Vision Australia on the project “Destroy A Minefield – Rebuild Lives” concluded after reaching its target of raising A$800,000 for mine action in Cambodia over two years.[31] The program raised a total of A$1.2 million ($780,428).[32] According to AusAID, the funds were spent on clearance of eighteen sites in Cambodia. Demining is expected to continue until the end of 2003. AusAID estimates that approximately ten million Australians were reached by the campaign, which appointed Australia’s Olympic Taekwondo gold medallist, Lauren Burns, as its ambassador.[33]

UNICEF Australia received A$500,000 in 2002 for UXO risk education in Laos. Donors included AusAID, UNICEF Australia and UNICEF Laos.[34]

CARE Australia continued its partnership with the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) on its integrated demining and development program, funded by AusAID. The project is due to end in March 2003. The 2002 budget was A$811,757.[35]

Australian Volunteers International continued its UXO clearance and community development project in Thua Thien Hue province, Vietnam. It is funded by AusAID, and due to finish in June 2005.[36] In early May 2003, the Australian government announced it would provide A$3.6 million for mine and UXO clearance in Thua Thien Hue province by AVI.[37]

Two commercial Australian companies were active in mine action in 2002. In April 2002, Milsearch secured an Asia Development Bank mine and UXO clearance contract for $775,000 to allow the construction of power lines from Vientiane to Phonsauan in Laos.[38] In Lebanon, Chirgwin Services conducted an AusAID-funded quality assurance course for six Lebanese and three Syrian army officers, and provided five metal detectors and six global positioning systems to the National Demining Office. Chirgwin Services is also acting as a mine clearance consultant to the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation’s project to upgrade the A9 highway linking north and south Sri Lanka.[39]

Research and Development

Minelab Electronics Pty. Ltd., a South Australian-based robotics company, is developing the F3 metal detector, and is also working on the “Rapid Route and Area Mine Neutralisation System” (see below).[40] Another Minelab project, in conjunction with US contractor CyTerra for the US Department of Defense, combines a ground penetration radar system with Minelab's metal detection technology into a hand-held mine detector.[41] Australian Detection Dog Services changed its company name to “Global Detection,” and is engaged in demining in Cambodia.[42]

The government’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is carrying out research into gamma ray landmine detection. This project is part of an International Atomic Energy Agency Coordinated Research Program initiative that brings together around twenty scientists from developing and developed countries to promote research and technology transfer into mine detection technologies.[43]

The government’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) carried out a demonstration of its radar and sensor technology, the Rapid Route and Area Mine Neutralisation System (RRAMNS) in November 2002. RRAMNS consists of an Australian metal detector designed by Minelab, a US ground-probing radar named “Tenix,” and an infrared imaging system developed by the DSTO. These technologies are integrated together on a vehicle. In November 2002, the Minister for Defence, Senator Robert Hill, claimed that the RRAMNS is capable of safely clearing a three-meter lane at speeds of up to five kilometers an hour. RRAMNS will be initially deployed with the Australian Defence Force, and could later be applied to humanitarian demining.[44]

The University of West Australia’s robotics department is looking at ways to improve existing mine detection and clearance technologies.[45] Researchers at the University of Melbourne in Victoria are working on gamma ray detection.[46]

Landmine Casualties

In 2002, one Australian soldier was injured and another killed in landmine incidents in Afghanistan. On 18 January, an SAS soldier lost two toes after stepping on a landmine. On 16 February, a soldier was killed when his vehicle hit a landmine.[47] No Australian landmine casualties were recorded in the first half of 2003.

[1] Email from Josephine Hutton, Acting Manager Afghanistan, Middle East, and Humanitarian Unit, AusAID, 31 March 2003.
[2] For more details see Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 375.
[3] Letter from Stephanie Foster, Assistant Secretary, Major Powers and Global Interests Branch, Department of Defence, 23 January 2003.
[4] Australian National Statement to the Fourth Meeting of States Parties by Ambassador Michael Smith, Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Geneva, 17 September 2002.
[5] Countries approached during 2002 included Afghanistan, Bhutan, Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Email from Maria Poulos, Executive Officer, Chemical, Biological and Conventional Weapons Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 19 December 2002.
[6] Interview with Todd Mercer, Executive Officer, Conventional and Nuclear Disarmament Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra, 25 November 2002.
[7] Emails from David Johnson, Australian Network, ICBL, 20 February 2003 and Gerald Hinton, Australian Network, ICBL, 29 March 2003.
[8] Australian National Statement by Geoffrey Shaw, Deputy Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, to the Fourth Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II of the CCW, 11 December 2002.
[9] Australian National Statement by Ambassador for Disarmament Michael Smith, to the Meeting of States Parties to the CCW, 12 December 2002.
[10] Letter to Ms. Mary Wareham, Global Research Coordinator, ICBL/Landmine Monitor, from Hon. Christine Gallus MP, 26 March 2003.
[11] Australian Network ICBL ACT Branch press release, “Local landmine event begins with a bang,” 28 June 2002.
[12] Liz Hobbs, Sue McDonough, and Ann O’Callaghan, Life after injury; a rehabilitation manual for the injured and their helpers (Malaysia: Third World Network, 2002).
[13] Events were held in Canberra, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria.
[14] Fax from Rob Woolley, MIVAC Trust, 23 February 2003.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 348-350.
[17] “Land Mine Use by Non-States Parties in Joint Operations.” This undated policy statement was provided to the coordinator of the US Campaign to Ban Landmines, Gina Coplon-Newfield, by Peter Baxter, Deputy Chief of Mission, and Susan Deets, Chief Council, Embassy of Australia to the US, in Washington DC, on 8 April 2003.
[18] Australian Defence Force, “Conventions on the Use of Landmines: A Commanders Guide,” Training Information Bulletin No. 86, prepared and promulgated in October 1999. This document is cited in Article 7 Report, Form A, 30 April 2003. The initial denial on classified grounds came in: Letter to Mr. Mark Zirnasak from Senator Robert Hill, Minister of Defence 24 October 2002. The FOIA response came in a telephone call from Major Steve Prigg, Department of Defence, 27 May 2003.
[19] Article 7 Report, Form D, 30 April 2003.
[20] Email from Josephine Hutton, AusAID, 25 June 2003. Australia’s financial year runs from 1 July–30 June. US dollar equivalent provided by Landmine Monitor.
[21] Letter from Foreign Minister Alexander Downer MP, 6 January 2003 in response to a letter from the Australian Network National Coordinator dated 5 December 2002.
[22] Email from Josephine Hutton, AusAID, 25 June 2003.
[23] Article 7 Report, Form J, 30 April 2003. Currency conversion rate of one Australian Dollar = 0.60 US Dollars (as of February 2003), from US Federal Reserve Statistical Release, “Foreign Exchange Rates,” 3 March 2003.
[24] Email from Josephine Hutton, AusAID, 25 June 2003.
[25] Hon. Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign Affairs, press release, “Australian Support for Humanitarian and Recovery Needs in Iraq,” 23 May 2003.
[26] British forces called for Australian assistance to dismantle and destroy a cache of arms and explosives found in a school in Umm Qasr. See Department of Defence press release, “Transcript: Media Briefing Australia’s contribution to Global Operations,” 31 March 2003.
[27] Hon. Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign Affairs, press release, “Australia funds further action on landmines in Cambodia,” 19 June 2003.
[28] Article 7 Report, Form J, 30 April 2003; email from Josephine Hutton, AusAID, 25 June 2003.
[29] Telephone interview with Corinne Stroppolo, Acting International Program Manager, AUSTCARE, 15 February 2003; Response to Landmine Monitor Questionnaire provided by Corinne Stroppolo, AUSTCARE, 15 February 2003.
[30] Response to Landmine Monitor Questionnaire provided by Lisa Edward, Program Officer, World Vision Australia 14 March 2003.
[31] Hon. Chris Gallus MP, press release, “Extra support to clear Cambodia’s deadly landmines,” 4 December 2002.
[32] The federal government matched every two dollars raised with another dollar. Hon. Chris Gallus MP, press release, “Extra support to clear Cambodia’s deadly landmines,” 4 December 2002.
[33] Email from Josephine Hutton, AusAID, 31 March 2003.
[34] Response to Landmine Monitor Questionnaire provided by Lara Scott, Projects Officer, UNICEF, 27 February 2003.
[35] Response to Landmine Monitor Questionnaire provided by Leda Tyrrel, Program Officer, CARE Australia, 8 January 2003.
[36] Email from Colin White, Manager, Asia Projects, Australian Volunteers International, 12 December 2002.
[37] “Australia Provides $3.6 Mln for Landmine Defusing in Vietnam,” Vietnam News Brief Service, 7 May 2003.
[38] Response (via Jodi Halmarick, PA) by David Halmarick, Managing Director, Milsearch, Canberra, 19 December 2002. The project lasted 13 months, cleared 99 hectares (easements, pylon sites, access roads) for 250 kilometers of power transmission line, and found 3,000 UXO and 5,000 small arms ammunition. Email from David Halmarick, 18 June 2003.
[39] Telephone interviews with Carl Chirgwin, Director, Chirgwin Services, 1 and 23 February 2003.
[40] Interview (by Loren Persi, Australian Network) with Leon Mitchell, Minelab, Adelaide, 1 November 2002.
[41] Cy Terra Corporation [2002] HSTAMIDS: Handheld Standoff Mine Detection System EMD Program http://cyterracorp.com [accessed 8 November 2002].
[42] Telephone interview with Mike Storey, Operational Manager, Global Detection, 13 January 2003.
[43] CSIRO press release, “‘Gamma Camera’ to Help Find Land Mines,” 19 December 2001.
[44] Senator Robert Hill, press release, “Australia leads the way in landmine research,” 28 November 2002; speech transcript, Sen. Robert Hill, 28 November 2002.
[45] University of West Australia website, www.uwa.edu.au
[46] Melbourne University, “Nucleus of knowledge brings physicist honours,” Science Highlights, http://www.science.unimelb.edu.au/research/highlights/Shoda.html
[47] “Aussie soldier's toes blown off. Inside Camp Cuba,” Herald Sun, 19 January 2002, p. 3; Christine Jackman, “Digger Dies. Afghan mine kills new dad,” Herald Sun, 18 February 2002.