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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 9843

JOINT STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J KEATING MP, AND THE MINISTER FOR DEVELOPMENT CO-OPERATION, THE HON GORDON BILNEY MP VIETNAMESE BRIDGE PROJECT

Photo of Keating, Paul

Keating, Paul

Period of Service: 20/12/1991 to 11/03/1996

More information about Keating, Paul on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/11/1995

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 9843

PRIME MINISTER 132/ 95
JOINT STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J KEATING MP,
AND THE MINISTER FOR DEVELOPMENT CO-OPERATION, THE
HON GORDON BILNEY MP
VIETNAMESE BRIDGE PROJECT
The Governments of Australia and Vietnam today announced their decision to
proceed with the construction of a bridge across the Mekong River at My Thuan
in southern Vietnam.
The bridge, to be jointly funded by the two governments, is expected to cost
approximately $ 83 million, with Australian contributions over four years
expected to be over $ 55 million. It will be the Australian aid program's biggest
ever infrastructure project.
The decision is another important milestone in the growing partnership
between Australia and Vietnam.
The bridge will be the first across the Mekong in Vietnam and about
2,000 kilometres downstream from the Austral ian-builIt Friendship Bridge linking
Thailand and Laos. It will replace an existing ferry service which each day
transports up to 22,500 people, 4,000 tonnes of freight and 5,000 passenger
vehicles. The decision to proceed with the project follows the acceptance of a detailed
feasibility study which covered a range of technical, economic, environmental,
social and legal issues.
The study found the bridge to be technically feasible, economically viable and
likely to make a significant contribution to improving the living standards of
people throughout the delta region of southern Vietnam.
Construction of the bridge will boost the economic development of the whole
Mekong delta region, which is constrained by the massive natural barrier to
transport services of the various arms of the Mekong River.

For the 15 million people of the delta the bridge is intended to * bring quicker,
easier and cheaper transport and higher returns for produce. It will also
enhance access to hospitals, schools and other social services.
The bridge will be built on Highway One, the main North-South road route in
Vietnam and will facilitate transport of over half the rice grown in Vietnam to the
major population centres around Ho Chi Minh City.
The overall length of the bridge will be 1,360 metres, comprising a main bridge
length of 640 metres and total approaches of 720 metres.
The commitment to proceed with the bridge follows a statement of " in principle
co-operation" signed during the visit of the General Secretary of the Communist
Party of Vietnam, Mr Do Muoi, to Australia in July.
The Minister for Development Co-operation, Gordon Bilney, and the visiting
Vietnamese Minister for Transport and Communications, Dr Bui Danh Luu,
today signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the detailed design phase of
the bridge.
The My Thuan bridge is part of a balanced development co-operation program
with Vietnam, which targets four main sectors, as well as a range of NGO
projects which focus directly on poverty. Apart from infrastructure the
Australian aid program has substantial projects in health, natural resource
development, and education.
Construction of the bridge is expected to begin in June 1997 and finish towards
the end of 2000.
CANBERRA NOVEMBER 1995

Transcript 9843