SEASONAL WORKER TIMOR-LESTE FORUM
18 March 2019
Cr Hugh Fraser – Good afternoon everyone. Thank you very much for coming to this information session about the Timor-Leste or East Timor – Seasonal Worker program. May I especially welcome you all and especially thank those of you who have travelled from our neighbouring councils and shires to be here today.
Hugh Fraser is my name and I am one of the councilors for the Nepean Ward. I am also Council’s delegate to our Mornington Peninsula Friends of Lospalos, Timor-Leste, Committee.
I have with me from the Shire Sarah Saxon our talented and very capable Agribusiness and food industry Facilitation Officer who together with the Timor Leste Embassy have put together this presentation to you this afternoon.
May I especially welcome Lucy Rodgers from the Timor Leste Embassy in Canberra. She is the Season Worker Program Liason Officer who will be making the presentation today.
May I also acknowledge the elders, families and forbears of the Boonwurung – Bunurong trible, the Kulin who were the custodians of this land for many centuries.
We acknowledge that the land on which we meet here today was the place of age old ceremonies, of celebrations, initiation and renewal; and that the Kulin peoples’ living culture had, and continues to have, a unique role in the life of this region.
Pausing here, may I say that this longer form of acknowledgement that we formally use in Council but is a timely reminder to reflect on the nature of custodianship of the land on the Mornington Peninsula and that we are all custodians of it and as to what we do with it and how it can be respectfully used and better used.
The Shire and its community has had a long and happy association with the Timorese since Restoration of Independence on 20 May 2002. There have been many exchange visits visiting our Friends in Lospalos and they visiting us here on the Mornington Peninsula – commencing with an inaugural Human Rights oration here in Mornington by Jose Ramos Horta – foreign minister, Prime Minister and President of Timor-Leste.
In 2017 and 2018, and as I recall on each previous general election, this shire was invited to send election observers to the two general election and did so. I had the privilege of being part of that team last year. Our community on the Mornington Peninsula have a long and happy relationship of working with the people of Timor Leste and I look forward to hearing about the Seasonal Worker program and as to what we can do to mutually assist each other in this vital economic activity of our horticultural.
So before turning the meeting over to Sarah and Lucy, may I again that you all for taking the trouble of being here this afternoon.