Subject: SMH: Jobs snapped up in E Timor road project

Sydney Morning Herald Feb 9, 2000

Jobs snapped up in road project

Dili: Employment prospects in East Timor have been given a welcome boost with the start of a $A600,000 road repair contract, the first let by the United Nations as part of a massive civil reconstruction project for the shattered territory.

A Hobart-based consortium comprising the civil construction company Hazell Brothers Group and consulting engineers from Pitt and Sherry have begun work to repair 50 kilometres of rain-damaged road in the mountainous coffee-growing district of Ermera.

The project manager, Mr Louis Stevens, said that given current conditions of rampant unemployment, the response in hiring East Timorese had been overwhelming. "We've given the East Timorese a written employment contract, which is something they never got from the Indonesians. They are very happy to have this job because they have now been four or five months without work.

"A lot of pride has been restored. They are not now dependant on aid and they are very happy with the terms and conditions."

The consortium had hired 100 East Timorese labourers and plant operators plus five engineers, Mr Stevens said.

The bulk of the workforce had been recruited from Ermera and nearby Aileu, two towns virtually destroyed by post-referendum militia violence.

Three expatriate engineers would supervise the road repairs.

The project would take about two months to complete.

Mark Dodd

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