Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Visit To Vietnam By Senator Amanda Vanstone

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Amanda Vanstone, is visiting Hanoi from 22 – 23 April 2002.

This is the first visit to Vietnam by an Australian Minister responsible for the Family and Community Services portfolio and marks a new era in cooperation between the Australian portfolio and its Vietnamese counterparts.

Minister Vanstone will meet with Dr Nguyen Huy Ban, Director General of Vietnam Social Security (VSS), Mr Pham Gia Khiem, Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Nguyen Thi Hang, Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), Ms Tran Thi Thanh Thanh Minister for National Committee of Protection and Care of Children, and Ms Ha Thi Khiet Chairman of the Vietnam Women’s Union and Vietnam National Committee for the Advancement of Women.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Australia in December 2001 between the Department of Family and Community Services and VSS to improve and increase each country’s expertise in, and the effectiveness of, their respective social security policies and programmes. Minister Vanstone will meet with Dr Nguyen Huy Ban, to confirm the first activity under the MoU, a seminar focussing on social security reform and legislation, which will be inaugurated in Ho Chi Minh City on 30 – 31 May.

In her meeting with the Vice Prime Minister and MOLISA, Minister Vanstone will discuss extending the range of cooperation between Australia and Vietnam in other areas of social policy including income support, housing policy, community support, disability services, child care services, family relationships, and youth.

Minister Vanstone will also meet with Minister Tran Thi Thanh Thanh to discuss policy approaches to the care of children and explore possible future linkages in policy development to do with child care.

In her role as Minister assisting the Prime Minister for the status of women in Australia, Minister Vanstone will meet with Ms Ha Thi Khiet to discuss strategies for economic self-sufficiency and security for women, including empowerment and employment.

Minister Vanstone said that the developing relationship between her portfolio and its Vietnamese counterparts was of critical importance. She identified the reform of the social support system in a period of ongoing structural adjustment as of prime significance for both countries.

“Economic growth alone will not solve problems of societies in transition. Community driven approaches comprising government funded initiatives to strengthen and develop communities and families will enable a strong self-reliant society to respond to the challenges of labour market changes and an ageing population”, said Minister Vanstone