Statement by the Minister for External Affairs
The Minister for External Affairs, the Rt. Hon. R.G. Casey, announced today that the Australian Government, in association with the Australian Red Cross Society, would provide assistance under the Colombo Plan for the Federation of Malaya's Scheme under which half a million Chinese are being re-settled in four hundred new villages in Malaya.
Because of the activities of terrorists, it has been necessary to transfer these people form their scattered homes and to resettle them in other quieter areas. The displacement of so many persons necessitates the development of many forms of social service activity, ranging from the provision of roads and water supplies to health, child welfare and education.
Mr. Casey said that the Commonwealth Government had decided to make available a Colombo Plan Grant of 75 per cent of the cost of sending and maintaining six Red Cross teams from Australia to work among these displaced people. The Australian Red Cross would provide the remainder of the money, and would be responsible for recruiting personnel and for managing the scheme in co-operation with the Government of the Federation of Malaya.
Each of the six teams would consist of one trained nurse and one experienced woman welfare worker. Amongst other things, they would operate mobile dispensaries provided by the British Red Cross, who had had similar teams in the field since June, 1951. The teams would give service both to the Chinese and to the Malays in the resettled areas.
Mr. Casey said he wished to appeal to qualified young women with nursing and social welfare experience, and a sense of adventure, together with the necessary desire to serve, to respond to this appeal to volunteers. The Red Cross were seeking young women between 25 and 40 years of age, in excellent health, who would be prepared to work for two years under fairly arduous conditions. The task would call for a high standard of enthusiasm and zeal. An element of personal danger could not be excluded, although Red Cross workers and property had not been interfered with in the past. Nurses must have a triple certificate and welfare workers first-aid qualifications and practical experience in welfare work, but not necessarily a Diploma in Social Studies. Ability to drive a car was essential.
Details of salaries, living and equipment allowances, and conditions of service, Mr. Casey added, were available at the Red Cross Society's Headquarters in each capital city and completed application forms must be submitted by 12th September next.
Mr. Casey stressed the importance of this humanitarian and constructive project and said he hoped the Red Cross would receive an excellent response to its appeal.
[NAA: A11604, 704/2/2]