The people of Cambodia are grateful to the government of Australia for taking the lead role in the 991 Paris Peace Accords.
Australia invests Aus.$ 77.4 million in 2011-2012 in Cambodia in agriculture, health and access to justice.
Agriculture policies and strategies can not ignore the devastating impact of land economic concessions that have lead to close to 30% of Cambodia’s land mass now in the hands of close to 250 companies. Among these companies are mining concessions given to Australian companies.
Land grabs are onlly menionted in the AUSAID strategy documents but not addressed.
In 2006, BHP paid US$1 million to the government to get special concession s in Mondol Kiri for mining in the North -East. The final deal was signed with BHP and the prime minister of Cambodia with an additional US$2.5million as “tea money” that never appeared in the books of the finance ministry http://www.smh.com.au/business/bhps-tea-money-missing-in-cambodia-20100514-v4fs.html.
Such deals must be stopped. Such deals must be a serious alarm and warning for AUSAID to be super cautious of its aid in the agriculture sector as well as other sectors.
We want quality of aid and accountability.
Call to stop firms accepting Cambodian land
April 16, 2012
Politician and rights activist Mu Sochua says “Cambodia is for sale”. Photo: SImon O’Dwyer
A CAMBODIAN opposition leader has urged the federal government to stop Australian companies from accepting land concessions in Cambodia, saying they are contributing to a pressing humanitarian crisis displacing up to one million people.
Mu Sochua, a representative of the Sam Rainsy Party and prominent human rights advocate, is in Australia to meet with the Cambodian community and Greens MPs about the issue.
She says the Cambodian government has given away 2.5 million hectares of land – 13.8 per cent of the country – to domestic and international agricultural firms, and an additional 1.9 million hectares to mining companies to explore for gold and other precious metals.
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“Cambodia is for sale,” she said. ”China is the biggest beneficiary of economic land concessions. Australian companies are in the north-east, in indigenous areas. We are talking about thousands of hectares of land.”
According to Cambodians for Resource Revenue Transparency, Australian mining companies have received at least 20 mining concessions spread over at least six companies, with licences to explore more than 760,000 hectares in total.
Australian companies Southern Gold and Indochine Mining Limited have some of the biggest stakes in the country, with Indochine licensed to explore 431,000 hectares.
Ms Mu said it was unclear how many Australian agricultural firms were operating in Cambodia, but that Australia had long invested in the sector.