Saffin to host Timor-Leste Ambassador to Australia for working visit

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Tuesday, 29 September 2020.

LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin this week is honoured to be hosting a delegation from Timor-Leste — led by that nation’s Ambassador to Australia, Her Excellency Ines Almeida – on a three-day working visit to the Electorate of Lismore.

Ms Saffin said Ambassador Almeida was respected as a key person in the movement for independence and for her work in the veterans’ friendship groups between Timor-Leste, Australia and New Zealand.

The delegation’s regional visit, from tomorrow (Wednesday) to Friday, will strengthen already strong bilateral ties between Australia and Timor-Leste, Ms Saffin said.

“I’ve lined up a packed program to showcase the best we have to offer here on the Northern Rivers – our industries; our emergency services and police who protected us from last year’s bushfires; arts, culture and heritage; Southern Cross University and more.

“We also are hosting an event in Lismore on Thursday morning for local veterans who served as Peacekeepers in East Timor. I want to acknowledge our strong veterans-to-veterans relationship, which started with our soldiers stationed there in the World War Two. I encourage veterans to make contact with me directly on 0418 664 001 or to contact my office on 0266 213 624.

“There is another meeting in Lismore on Friday morning aimed at gauging interest in forming a Timor-Leste Friendship Group as quite a few local residents have long  associations with that country, including Nimbin’s Saskia Kouwenberg.”

Ms Saffin and Ms Kouwenberg share the rare honour of having been awarded the Order of Timor-Leste.

Joining Ambassador Almeida will be Defence Attache Colonel Jose da Costa Soares, Consul General Sydney Mr Luciano Valentim de Conceicao, Consul Sydney Ms Maria Lidia Soares, First Secretary Mr Samuel Soares and EA to the Ambassador Ms Rahel Alemseged.

Ms Saffin said the delegation would head west on Wednesday for visits to Mountain Blue Blueberry Farm at Tabulam, the NSW Rural Fire Service’s Drake Brigade and Casino headquarters, and the Northern Cooperative Meat Company in Casino.

Heading north to Murwillumbah on Thursday, the delegation will visit lawyer and philanthropist Stephen Webb’s M Arts Precinct in the town’s Central Business District. Like Ms Saffin, Mr Webb worked on the Timor Sea Treaty negotiations.

Other stops will include the Murwillumbah Regional Museum, the Tweed Regional Art Gallery and a tour of Husk Distillers.