Australia has embarked on a new set of
development projects aimed at improving public administration and health
in East Timor.
A new $18 million program, managed by the Wollongong company Illawarra Technology Corporation, will help East Timor improve its public administration by providing technical support and training to the Government, non-government organisations and statutory authorities.
This support will be in areas such as training and language, finance, environmental testing, assistance for tax officers, management of small and medium businesses and local government.
A second $8 million project will help East Timor strengthen its financial systems by helping train staff especially those in higher level policy and management. This will give East Timor strong and effective public financial and management systems that are both responsible and accountable.
Both projects demonstrate the importance the Australian Government places on working with developing countries to achieve good governance. Good governance is seen as a key to social and economic growth and stability.
Oebaba Water Supply
International Year of Freshwater is more than just a symbol of intent for the people of Oebaba of East Timor. For it is only now that their small village in the district of Covalima has access to fresh, clean water. Until recently the village relied on river and poor quality well water for their daily needs. However with funding from the Australian Government, a new water supply service has been installed.
Using an Australian designed and manufactured solar powered pump, water from a bore close to the village is pumped through pipes to a storage tank in the village and carried by other pipes to several water points in the village.
One of several new water points in Covalima
The new service, set up in consultation with village people, has brought clean water to 680 residents of Oebaba. The training given to residents will ensure the water system is maintained and the health benefits of having clean water for personal use and agriculture continue.
Overall, Australia is spending $14.5 million on water and sanitation programs in three of the poorest districts of East Timor, Covalima, Bobonaro and Viqueque.
Improved public administration, water and sanitation are important foundations for development in East Timor. Australia is also working with the Government of East Timor to build up other vital sectors to reduce poverty in the small country.
New Skills for Women
In the small towns of Suai and Ainaro, groups of women and girls gather throughout the day to learn the age-old crafts of cooking, baking, sewing and embroidery.
They've been brought together by Canossian nuns to learn the skills that will enable them to earn a living and increase their self-confidence. This small but important aid project has been funded by the Australian Government. Funding has been used to buy the sewing and cooking materials and the income raised from the sale of sewn articles is used to support the operation and maintain equipment.
Australian Development Scholarships
This year, 11 students from East Timor will begin their studies at Australian universities as Australian Development Scholarship holders.
Parliamentary Secretary Chris Gallus and East Timor Minister for Education Dr. Armindo Maia with ADS graduates in East Timor
The students are enrolled in a range of disciplines including agriculture, animal studies, business management, project management, health planning, journalism and public policy.
At the request of the East Timorese Government, another five scholarship holders will study medicine at universities in Indonesia where their fluency in Indonesian will enable them to directly enter medicine courses, without lengthy pre-course language training, and to work in East Timor immediately after graduation.
Since 2000, 94 students from East Timor have studied in Australia in areas considered by both governments to be integral to the country's development.
These different forms of development assistance represent just a fraction of the work being done between the governments of Australia and East Timor to increase sustainable development in East Timor.