The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA63 - 6 June 2003

The Australia Group: Strengthening Measures to Prevent the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction

I welcome the decisions taken by the Australia Group at its annual meeting in Paris (2-5 June 2003) to further strengthen export controls on goods and technologies that could be used in chemical and biological weapons (CBW) programs.

Under Australia’s leadership, the Group agreed on measures that will make a significant contribution to the fight against the spread of CBW. These include

I welcome the continued high priority placed by members of the Australia Group on preventing the spread of CBW in the fight against terrorism, and their commitment to strengthening export control measures.

The Australia Group is an informal network of countries that consult on and harmonise their national export licensing measures on CBW-relevant items. Participants work together to prevent the inadvertent export of goods and technology for use in CBW programs. Currently, 33 countries - from Europe, the Asia-Pacific and the Americas, plus the European Commission - participate in the Group. Australia has chaired the Group since 1985.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) +61 02 6277 7500 / Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) 02 6261 1555