Australia and Timor-Leste’s enduring relationship has been further strengthened this week following an Australian ministerial visit.
Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Anne Ruston, travelled to Timor-Leste to engage in government-to-government dialogue and see first-hand the benefits of Australia’s partnership with its neighbour.
“The Morrison Government is committed to developing even stronger ties between Canberra and Dili,” Minister Ruston said.
“I had extremely productive discussions with President Francisco “Lu’Olo” Guterres, Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak and Foreign Minister Dionisio Babo Soares.
“Together, we also announced that Timor-Leste has been invited to join the Pacific Labour Scheme.”
Minister Ruston said it was inspiring to witness Australian and Timorese collaboration, including support for improved access to clean water and the reconstruction of rural roads.
“The visit allowed me to reaffirm Australia’s strong commitment to Timor-Leste’s development, including its social and economic aspirations,” Minister Ruston said.
“Our initiatives are game changers for the local community. Australian development support created over 2,000 jobs and improved services to 140,000 Timorese last financial year alone.”
Amongst other activities, Minister Ruston announced $400,000 for a new water research project in Becora, saving locals from spending four hours each day to collect water.
The delegation also met returned Timorese seasonal workers who have benefited from labour mobility opportunities in Australia, bringing the skills they acquired to their local employment.