PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
THE HON CHRIS GALLUS MP
AA 03 010
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Chris Gallus, will launch three new Australian aid activities during an official visit to East Timor this week.
Mrs Gallus will also sign a MOU with the East Timorese Prime Minister, Dr Mari Bin Hamud Alkatiri, during her four-day visit to urban and regional East Timor.
The Memorandum of Understanding on Technical Cooperation is a framework for the development of cooperation between Australian and East Timor.
East Timor achieved independence on 20 May 2002 after travelling a long road from the autonomy ballot in August 1999. Australia played a key role in East Timor's transition to independence.
Mrs Gallus said the agreement would streamline arrangements for the delivery of Australian aid for East Timor aimed at reducing poverty and to help rebuild the country as a new democratic nation.
'Poverty reduction is our priority in East Timor' Mrs Gallus said.
'More than 40 per cent of East Timorese live in poverty and 80 per cent of those live in rural areas.'
The new programs to be launched by Mrs Gallus focus on areas of high need in East Timor. They include a water supply program, a financial management project and a program to increase skills in the East Timor public service.
Australia provided $81 million to meet East Timor's humanitarian and development needs in 1999/2000 and in May 2000 committed to an assistance package of $150 million over four years for reconstruction and development. Estimated total aid flows for 2002/03 are $36 million.
Alex Knox (Office of Mrs Gallus) 02 6277
4840 or 0411 287 257
Jo Elsom (AusAID) 02 6206 4960 or 0412 804 489