Seasonal Workers Program announcement

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JULIE BISHOP:Secretaryda Silva, Ambassadors from Australia and Timor-Leste, to all of the studentsand trainees and trainers and representatives here today: thank you for yourvery warm welcome to Tibar Training Centre here. It is my second visit to thetraining centre and much has changed in those five years.I'm very pleasedto be able to visit the Centre during my overall visit here to Dili and thistrip was timed to be after the formation of the new government from the lastelection. Also it's timely because we have signed the Maritime Boundary Treatyin New York in March. So, we are undertaking a new chapter of Australian-Timoreserelations - we've had a very long history together, we have a very strongfriendship, and the partnership between Australia and Timor-Leste will broadenand deepen.

It is ayoung nation. Next year marks the 20th anniversary of INTERFET and the UN-ledmission here. But it's also a young nation in terms of the demographics of yourpopulation - about three quarters of the people of Timor-Leste are under theage of 35. That presents challenges and opportunities and the AustralianGovernment is very pleased to partner with the Timor-Leste Government insupporting particularly young people of Timor-Leste gain the skills and thequalifications that they need to undertake the jobs of the 21st century. Thisis a challenge around the world, but particularly in developing countries wherethe opportunities can be limited while, the country raises the standard ofliving, deals with poverty, and builds a sustainable economy.

That's whyI'm so delighted to see the success of the initiatives that the AustralianGovernment is funding to support the people of Timor-Leste, in particularthrough the Workplace Development Program, the partnership with Charles DarwinUniversity to train trainers - and we've seen a wonderful example of that thisafternoon here. I've met the trainers who are involved in hospitality andthey're doing a magnificent job - even folding napkins on demand, thank you!

This is animportant program because it passes on the skills to the Timorese people whothen pass on the skills to the students, and this is precisely what we'reseeking to achieve: upskill the workforce at every level - the teachers, thetrainers, the students, and ensuring that people are job ready, work ready,when they gain their qualifications or complete their training.

That's oneinitiative that the Australian Government is very pleased to support. Thesecond is the Seasonal Workers Program, and that has been a huge success, fromour perspective, since 2012. Meeting Luisa and Nuno and Joana just demonstratedhow important this program has been to ensuring that after the people ofTimor-Leste have worked in Australia, they can put their experience to good useback home here in Dili. I think Luisa's story of working in the Cable BeachHotel - I'm sure I visited there when you were working there because it's oneof my favourite places in Australia - Broome and the Cable Beach Hotel. So,gaining the skills and training there, coming back to Dili, coming back toTimor-Leste and having the opportunity through a market development facilityprogram run by Australia to use your skills at the Balibo Fort Hotel. We'retraining the workers, leveraging opportunities to build, for example, a resorthotel in Balibo and enhancing the tourism opportunities here in Timor-Leste,which are undoubtedly boundless.

So, that's awonderful story and likewise Joana and the bakery. I'm looking forward totrying some of the baked goods shortly - and that's a great story, as is Nuno'sand his coffee empire. Not only does he have cold brew coffee but he's got amobile coffee cart and more. I can see that this empire will go from strengthto strength.

Three greatexamples of how the Seasonal Workers Program is providing opportunities backhome here in Dili. So, not only do the workers have the opportunity to sendmoney home to support their communities, but also bring their skills andexperience back here to help continue to build this nation.

We're veryproud to be a reliable partner and a trusted friend of Timor-Leste. TheSeasonal Workers Program has proved to be so successful here - and this year Ithink there'll be 800 places made available for workers from Timor-Leste, whoare very popular in Australia. In areas of labour shortage, I know thatAustralian employers look for hard working, energetic people from Timor-Leste.Because of the success of the program, I'm pleased to announce today that inthe financial year 2018-2019, we will increase the number of places availableto Timor-Leste under the Seasonal Workers Program to 1500.

That will be1500 places available, I know that they'll be very much in demand. We bothbenefit - Australia benefits from your work ethic and Timor-Leste benefits fromthe remittances and the skills transfer.

I believethere is much more that we can do in this area; I've been discussing new ideasand initiatives with the Ambassador, with Foreign Minister Soares, and with thePrime Minister. So, hopefully we'll have some more good news on how we can worktogether in collaboration to give the people of Timor-Leste the bright futurethat they so richly deserve.

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