Speech by the Ambassador of the Australian Embassy in Timor Leste His Excellency Peter Doyle at the Launch of Roads for Development (R4D) Programme Phase II of Timor-Leste

Statement | Same, Manufahi District, Timor-Leste | 23 March 2017
Good Morning
  • Your excellency the Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications Sr. Gastao Francisco de Sousa
  • Respected Municipal Administrator, Sr. Carlito Pinheiro de Araujo
  • Officials from the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communications
  • Respected ILO Country Director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste, Mrs. Michiko Miyamoto
  • People of Same and Manufahi
I am delighted to be here in Same today and I would like to extend my gratitude to the Minster of Public Works, Transport and Communications for inviting me to participate in this launch. I would like to thank the Municipal Administrator for welcoming us to Same today, for hosting this event and for your opening remarks, it is great to be back in this beautiful part of Timor-Leste.

The Australian Government support the Government of Timor-Leste’s Roads for Development program. We support this program because we know it is what rural communities want. Improved roads and access to water are consistently the biggest priority of Timor-Leste’s rural communities and it is obvious why this is the case.

Good quality rural roads are a vital condition to enhanced social and economic development and are important for both the local and national economy. Economic growth and encouraging businesses to develop are priorities of both Timor-Leste and Australia. In the first phase of the program, which began in 2012, over 300 kilometers of rural roads were rehabilitated and about 400 kilometers maintained. This accounts for approximately 20 per cent of Timor-Leste’s rural road network. It’s important to look after our roads and other infrastructure. These improvements not only provided valuable employment opportunities for community members, but also cut travels times in half and greatly enhanced access to schools and medical services. These improved roads help connect farmers to markets and businesses to the people who want to buy products or services. As Timor-Leste’s economy develops, making sure that rural communities are connected will make sure they are not left behind.

R4D’s achievements are remarkable. They make a tangible difference to the lives of many rural households and I am pleased that Australia is able to work in partnership with the Government of Timor-Leste and the International Labour Organization to continue this program through a second phase starting next month.

Australia is committed to being an effective, responsive and long-term partner in Timor-Leste’s development by supporting efforts to improve livelihoods, enhance human development, and strengthen governance and institutions. Across all program, we focus on improving nutrition, empowering women and girls and supporting disability-inclusive development.

Our support to R4D is an important part of our assistance and is an enabler for our other programs. For example, our new agriculture livelihoods program TOMAK (or To’os ba Moris Diak) focuses on helping farmers get their products to market and improving the nutritional status of rural communities. Without good rural access, achieving these objective would be more difficult. Similarly, our support in the health and education sectors delivered through the recently launched Partnership for Human Development is more effective with good rural roads.

In closing, I’d like to congratulate the Government of Timor-Leste for your commitment to continue the Roads for Development program. I see R4D as an excellent example of how Australia and Timor-Leste can work together to address Timor-Leste’s strategic development aspirations.

Thank you again to the Minister, the Municipal Administrator, the people of Manufahi for the opportunity to be with you today to celebrate this launch and the inauguration of the Same-Grotu road. I hope you enjoy it.