Blue Mountains City Council

Friendship Agreement
Friendship Agreement

Signing the Friendship Agreement on 30 November 2007

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Blue Mountains Hatobuilico Friendship Committee

Timor-Leste (East Timor) is one of our nearest neighbours and one of the poorest countries in the world. Australia’s connections go back to the Second World War when the Timorese people gave generous and valuable help to Diggers based in that country. In 1999, following the United Nations-sponsored act of self-determination, Indonesia relinquished control of the territory and Timor-Leste experienced devastating destruction at the hands of the militia. The country is still struggling to rebuild its infrastructure.

Following Timor-Leste’s independence in 2002, communities across Australia were seeking to help our near neighbours establish their new nation. With the support of the Australian Government and the new government in Timor-Leste, local councils were encouraged to develop friendship relationships with regional communities in Timor-Leste.

 

In January 2005, at the request of the then Consul General of Timor-Leste Senor Abel Guterres, Blue Mountains City Council established a formal friendship relationship with Hatobuilico, a disadvantaged and mountainous district in Timor-Leste. Hatobuilico is one of the four sub-districts of Ainaro district and is located inland south west of capital Dili, at an altitude of 2,400m above sea level on the slopes of Mount Ramelau (2,963m). Hatobuilico was chosen because, like the Blue Mountains, it is place of distinct natural beauty and has the potential to grow its local economy through tourism.

 

The Blue Mountains Hatobuilico Friendship Committee is one of almost 40 friendship groups around Australia. These groups promote respect and support for Timorese-led decision-making and sustainable and long-term assistance, based on partnerships of mutual respect and collaboration. More details can be seen on the Australia Timor Friendship Network’s website.

 

The Friendship Committee is an advisory committee of Council and its role is to provide advice to Council on how the friendship relationship is progressing. Its main activities are:

  • supporting the work of Blue Mountains community organisations which are fundraising and/or developing community projects with the local community in Hatobuilico
  • providing information and advice to Council on developments in Australian/Timor-Leste relationships 
  • receiving visiting dignitaries from Timor-Leste.

The committee comprises two councillors and several community members and meets quarterly to discuss ways in which the Blue Mountains community can work with the people of Hatobuilico. Since 2005 members of the committee have made dozens of self-funded visits to Timor-Leste to find out the needs of the community and support community development projects.

 

Realising the goals of the Council’s friendship relationship with Hatobuilico has been made possible through partnerships with Blue Mountains community organisations that have fundraised and managed projects to support development in Hatobuilico. To find out more about the work of these groups and to get involved, go to:

 

For more information on the Blue Mountains Hatobuilico Friendship Committee please contact Councillor Romola Hollywood - rhollywood@bmcc.nsw.gov.au or 0414 195 983