I am pleased to announce several practical steps that Australia is taking to promote a complete international ban on nuclear testing. Beyond our current position as Coordinator of international efforts to promote the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Australia is hosting three events this year to advance the development of CTBT verification processes.

The CTBT offers a vital contribution to disarmament and non-proliferation by placing constraints on the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons. When completed, the verification regime for the CTBT will offer a powerful capacity to detect nuclear explosions globally through its International Monitoring System, and to carry out on-site inspections to investigate events of concern.

Today I have opened a workshop to help develop effective procedures for the conduct of on-site inspections. The week-long workshop at the National Museum of Australia draws together 40 international and Australian experts, providing an important opportunity to progress this verification tool.

Their discussions will focus, in part, on the results from field-work activity hosted by Australian experts in NSW this past week to test equipment for use in an on-site inspection.

In addition, in late November 2005, the Government will host a course to help train experts from our region in how to analyse and use data generated by the CTBT’s International Monitoring System.

These activities are being organised by the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office and Geoscience Australia, in cooperation with the Preparatory Commission for the CTBT Organization.

The Government will also continue to lead a reinvigoration of efforts to secure further ratifications of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and its entry into force. I had the honour to preside over an international conference for this purpose in New York last month. The Conference unanimously agreed to adopt a strong declaration in support of the CTBT and a set of practical measures to encourage ratification.