Inauguration of Maliana – Saburai rural road in Bobonaro Municipality

TThe Ministry of Public Works (MPW), inaugurated one of its rehabilitated core rural roads, the Maliana – Saburai road in Bobonaro Municipality.

Press release | Maliana District, Bobonaro Municipality, Timor-Leste | 22 May 2019
The Ministry of Public Works (MPW), inaugurated one of its rehabilitated core rural roads, the Maliana – Saburai road in Bobonaro Municipality. The 17km road was rehabilitated by 12 trained locally based contractors at the cost of USD 2,803,731 jointly funded by Government of Timor leste and Government of Australia.

The improved road provides all-weather access to public services for five Sukus (Holsa, Tapo-Memo, Saburai, Gildapil, Lebos) with a rural population of over 7,000 people and is continuously being maintained using Community Maintenance Group.

The opening of this road clearly highlight the significant benefits of improving the national network of rural roads across Timor-Leste. Today, the people in Saburai can now access public transport to bring their products to market in Maliana. Some community members can work in Maliana and commute daily from Saburai. Household income has increased by 75 percent, according to the Saburai Suku chief.

We are also looking forward to continue our collaboration for the continued implementation of R4D, together with other R4D stakeholders and the rural people of Timor-Leste."

Salvador Eugѐnio Soares Dos Reis Pires, Minister for Public Works
Before the road rehabilitation, the community used horses as transport. Now that the road has been rehabilitated, the community can access Maliana by mini truck, microlet (mini bus), and ojek (motorcycle taxi). There is an observable shift in the type of housing, with older stone and thatch structures being replaced with concrete block.

The road was rehabilitated under the Road for Development (R4D) programme being implemented by its National Directorate of Roads, Bridges and Flood Control (DRBFC) of the Ministry of Public Works (MPW). The overarching goal of R4D is that: Women and men in rural Timor-Leste are deriving social and economic benefits from improved rural road access. R4D focuses on the rehabilitation and maintenance of Timor-Leste’s 1,975 km of core rural road network – covering all Municipalities.

Australia is pleased to partner with the Government of Timor-Leste to support its R4D program, rehabilitating and maintaining the country’s rural roads."

Peter Roberts, Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste
To date 552 km of rural roads have been improved to all weather standards, and are under continuous routine maintenance. The Australian Government provides technical assistance through the International Labour Organization (ILO) to support R4D. Strengthening the capacity of the public and private sectors to manage and implement rural road improvements is a key focus of Australia’s assistance.

Delivering the keynote address at the inauguration was H.E. Salvador Eugѐnio Soares Dos Reis Pires, Minister for Public Works. Other invited guests included the Ambassador of Australia to Timor-Leste, ministers of the Cabinet of the Government of Timor-Leste, representatives of development partners and  donors, municipal authorities, government officials, representatives of employers and workers’ organizations, and ILO R4D staff.

The Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste, H.E. Peter Roberts remarked that, “Australia is pleased to partner with the Government of Timor-Leste to support its R4D program, rehabilitating and maintaining the country’s rural roads. Together, our support to the Maliana-Saburai road has created jobs for local communities, including women, promoted the establishment of local businesses and helped improve people’s lives.”

Speaking at the inauguration, the Minister of Public Works said “We are also looking forward to continue our collaboration for the continued implementation of R4D, together with other R4D stakeholders and the rural people of Timor-Leste. Whereas considerable achievements have already been made, there is still much work to be done in terms of further strengthening capacity, in streamlining procedures, standards, and specifications to ensure that optimum returns to investments can be achieved and in ensuring that effective coordination takes places at all levels between the concerned stakeholders. Furthermore, the Ministry will ensure that R4D will be adequately resourced and will be aligned with the Government’s on-going decentralization process”.