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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 2000-2001

Output E CTBT Implementation

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

Milestone E1

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

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


Practical work on development of the CTBTs verification system ahead of entry into force has advanced steadily since 1997. ASNO has established and continues to develop contacts with the CTBTOs Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) and with Australian government agencies and institutions with a stake in CTBT activities, especially the development of the International Monitoring System (IMS). Annex J lists Australian IMS stations. As the CTBT and Australias implementing legislationare not yet in force, ASNO does not currently carry out the full range of anticipated legal functions.

To facilitate the development of Australian IMS stations, ASNO concluded an arrangement with the CTBTO Preparatory Commission early in 2000 setting out requirements and procedures for the establishment, upgrade and operation of IMS stations in Australia. This was brought into force during September 2000 following the completion of domestic implementing arrangements.

The single largest IMS project in Australia is the hydroacoustic monitoringstation off Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia. ASNO has worked closely during the year with the PTS, Western Australian Government agencies, and the consortium responsible for installation of the station. Key infrastructure for the station was installed in March 2001, and it should be operational early in 2002.

Work on, and planning for other Australian IMS stations was usefully advanced during the year, with radionuclide stations in Melbourne and Perth completed and certified as meeting CTBT standards. The PTS constructed an infrasound station at Warramungain the Northern Territory which should be certified before the end of 2001. Joint PTS-ASNO planning for new infrasound stations in Western Australia and Tasmania, and new radionuclide stations in Queensland and the Northern Territory, was well advanced at the end of the reporting period. Additional stations (see Table page 93) are at earlier stages in planning.

ASNO contributed to technical working group sessions of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission in Vienna during the year in conjunction with Australias mission in Vienna and with technical specialists from AGSO and ARPANSA. Key contributions during 2000-01 dealt with procedures for the conduct of an On-Site Inspection (OSI). The role of an OSI is to establish, through activities on the ground, whether a nuclear explosion has been carried out in violation of the CTBT. OSI procedures will be set out in an operational manual being negotiated by CTBT signatories.

The development of procedures for conduct on an OSI is a sensitive element of the work of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission. This reflects differing views amongst signatories about what is an appropriate balance between protecting the legitimate security interests of an inspected state during an inspection (which may take place in strategically or militarily sensitive areas), and ensuring an inspection team is able to work effectively to carry out its task of determining whether a nuclear explosion has taken place.

Performance Assessment

ASNO has met, and addressed, a number of challenges during 2000-01 in the task of facilitating work on the more complex IMS projects in Australia. At 30 June 2001, three of Australias 20 IMS stations had been certified as ready to meet CTBT standardsthe largest number of stations in any CTBT signatory at this stage, with several more certifications anticipated during 2001-02.

ASNO, along with Australias Vienna mission, contributed to the preparation of an initial rolling text completed during 2000, and is active in the negotiation of that text which began in June 2001. ASNO also made a significant contribution to a very successful tabletop exercise in late 2000 which trialed aspects of the OSI process and explored additional concepts.

Milestone E2

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


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 the 44 states listed in its Annex II. At 30 June 2001, 161 states had signed the Treaty, of which 77 had deposited instruments of ratification. These included 31 of the named 44.

The Australian Geological Survey Organisation (AGSO) carries out nuclear test monitoring, using its network of seismic stations, under contract to DFAT. From 1 July 2000, ASNO has administered that contract on behalf of the Department, and is negotiating changes with AGSO to reflect a new operating environment as the IMS is developed pending the CTBT coming into force.

The CTBTs Global Communications Infrastructure (GCI) is being established along with the IMS to support data transmission from monitoring stations worldwide to the International Data Centre (IDC) in Vienna, and from the IDC to member states. Much of the GCI is operated by a commercial provider under contract to the CTBTO Preparatory Commission. In some cases, however, data from monitoring stations are transmitted using nationally operated communications links. Consistent with funding principles in the CTBT, the cost of operating these national data links will be funded by the CTBTO. ASNO facilitated the establishment, in late 2000, of an arrangement through which operating costs for three AGSO operated auxiliary seismic stations will be met in this way.

Early in 2000 Australia concluded an arrangement with the Preparatory Commission to facilitate establishment and operation of IMS stations in Australia. The implementation of that arrangement has required a review of the tax environment in which the Preparatory Commission and its contractors operate in Australia. ASNO has undertaken that review in consultation with Treasury, the Australian Taxation Office and DFAT stakeholders. As a result of that review, minor changes to regulations under the Tax Administration Act 1953 are proposed.

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 trainingof people involved with the work of the Treaty. ASNO coordinates the involvement of Australians in this training. During the year four 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

Management of a number of the issues relevant to this milestone has to take into consideration the financial consequences for a range of stakeholders. Thus early resolution of issues is not usually straightforward. ASNOs efforts have however seen steady progress throughout the reporting period.

Australia is widely regarded as an active participant in and contributor to the practical work of preparing for entry-into-force of the CTBT. Participation in training activities has presented useful opportunities to strengthen this involvement and promote Australias interests.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade