The BFACC considered the development of the Plan as being a critical next step in the relationship between the City of Ballarat and the District of Ainaro.
The development of the Plan has always been mindful of respecting the culture of and meeting the needs of the Ainaro community.
For any individual or group intending to visit the district of Ainaro in East Timor, as a courtesy to the District Administrator, we encourage a that a small amount of detail to be communicated to his office in advance. The advice also assists the DA in providing support to you and your group, if required.
The Ministry of State Administration would like you to advise them of your visit and activities so they remain up to date and fully informed. Sr Xisto Freitas is the nominated liaison person in Dili and ideally a copy of the form attached (handwritten or typed) should be given to him prior to visiting your friendship area.
However, if you are not able to visit State Administration prior to heading out of Dili, please email a copy of the form before leaving Australia to Sr Xisto Freitas firstname.lastname@example.org
Council, at its meeting on December 7 1999, recommended“that Council gives in principle support to entering into a friendship agreement with the people of the Ainaro region of East Timor during the period of reconstruction”.
The Ballarat Branch of the Australian East Timor Association identified the Ainaro region as an appropriate sister region for Ballarat and initiated an informal friendship relationship which at the time was an acknowledgement of the generous response of the people of Ballarat to the crisis in East Timor.
During a ceremony held at the Town Hall on December 10 1999, the Mayor of the day, Cr John Barnes presented an official letter to Sr Benjamin Araujo, a native of Ainaro, to take with him to East Timor. Sr Benjamin presented the letter to Sr Joao Corte-Real, a Government official, seeking assistance to establish a Friendship Agreement with the District of Ainaro.
This formal Friendship Agreement did not commit Council to providing financial or physical resources, but rather involve the transfer of knowledge, skills and resources as appropriate, at both the local government, and community level.
The visit to East Timor in June/July 2003 was the first by a delegation of City officials since the independence of East Timor and was the most appropriate opportunity for the Friendship Agreement to be formalized.
In July 2005 the Ballarat City Council formally established the Ballarat Friends of Ainaro Community Committee (BFACC) under Section 86 as a Special Committee of Council, providing funding and support to further develop the friendship relationship with the Ainaro District.
The first meeting of the BFACC was held on Tuesday November 29 2005.
Some highlights of the relationship since 2003 have been:
Various local government delegations
Strategic Workshops with members of the Ainaro District Administration both in Ballarat and Ainaro
AVI appointment – 2008 to 2010, leading to strong project support from Australia
Small Grants program
Friendship schools exchanges and forums
Community forums in both Ballarat and Ainaro
‘5 for T’ fundraising campaign
Community workshops and celebration events
Development of a “Ballarat-Ainaro Community Action Plan” 2012-2017
It is intended that all initiatives undertaken under the Friendship Relationship should be directed towards strengthening the communities of the Ainaro District. These initiatives should aim to build capacity and advance to the self-sufficiency of the people of Ainaro, and should be consistent with the principals of cultural, social and environmental sustainability.
We recognise that there will be short-term and long-term goals for the re-building of Ainaro and that any strategy or project should be based on needs identified through local decision-making processes and should take account of the capacity of the City of Ballarat, and the members of the Friendship community to resource and support them.