|Subject: East Timor visit set to proceed
East Timor visit set to proceed By ANDREW EALES Wednesday, 14 May 2003
A DELEGATION from Ballarat will visit the East Timor region of Ainaro at the end of next month.
The visit, which will last a week, will see members of Ballarat City Council, Ballarat Health Services, the Centre Against Sexual Assault and the Australia-East Timor Association along with representatives from other local organisations meet with relevant government and community departments and agencies.
It follows the cancellation of a planned trip to Ainaro in September last year, when a safety warning was issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs about travel in the region.
But Ballarat AETA chair Andrea Shaw said she was not expecting similar problems this time.
"I think the focus is on other parts of the world at the moment," Ms Shaw said.
She said the trip would give Ballarat an opportunity to strengthen ties with the Ainaro region which is recovering following East Timor's battle for independence from Indonesia.
Forming concrete projects in the areas of health, infrastructure and education is one of the many aims of the visit.
It was also hoped it could secure ties between Ballarat City Council and local government in Ainaro, possibly through the signing of a memorandum of understanding.
Ballarat Mayor David Vendy is likely to attend, as will two other staff from the council.
Ms Shaw will be joined by Sister Therese Power as AETA representatives.
The visit will begin on June 28, with the delegation to return on July 6. It is expected the visit will cost $2480 per person.
It is the second overseas visit involving Ballarat City Council members announced this year.
The council has accepted an invitation from the mayor of Inagawa, in Japan, to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of the sister-city relationship between the two cities.
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