CEO, Frankston City Council and LG Professionals Australia Board Member
I was honoured to join Lauren (Oakey) and Rikki (Bruhn) on the recent trip to Timor-Leste to take part in the Decentralisation Conference and to experience for the first time the sights and sounds of Dili.
The welcome we received and all through our stay was indeed warm, and we felt as though we were very much amongst friends. The support and guidance of the Timor-Leste Ambassador to Australia, Abel Guterres, was invaluable and will highlight the work we did with Vice Minister Cabral who was very giving of his time and allowed us access to the various government departments and officials.
The Dili Declaration of which LG Professionals Australia is a signatory was the culmination of the conference work and commits all parties to successfully establishing local government.
The MOU between the Government of Timor-Leste and LG Professionals Australia was a very positive step forward and we will now look to work alongside the government and municipalities in the implementation of the various strategies outlined in the document. This is the blueprint for how we can assist and, pleasingly, the Government of Timor-Leste have recognised LG Professionals Australia as a key local government partner.
In the medium to longer term, LG Professionals Australia has the opportunity to work in the areas of tourism development, economic development, employment creation and strategic planning and urban renewal.
Developing partnerships with Australian local governments will be vital in the development of the people skills of those in Timor-Leste who are about to be involved in local government and I would encourage all councils to think about hosting a visit from our friends from Timor-Leste.
Establishing these links is a key platform of the MOU we have just signed and was highlighted of particular interest by all within government and local government in Timor-Leste.
Local government is in its infancy in Timor-Leste, and we have a wonderful opportunity to stand alongside our friends to enable them to successfully introduce a system that will benefit the communities right across the country and continue to provide opportunities for the people of Timor-Leste.