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Thatís When Neighbors Become Good Friends

Australiaís Northern Territory Seeking Closers Ties with Bali and Indonesia

(11/21/2013) Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika received a visit from the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory in Australia, the Hon, Adam Graham Giles MLA on Tuesday, November 12, 2013.

Accompanying Giles on his visit was the Mayor for Darwin, Katrina Fong Lim, who is on a tour with Miles to improve relations with Indonesia and East Timor.

In Indonesia, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara have been identified by Australia as territories in the closest proximity to Australia and, as a result, worthy of special attention. Also, given the large number of Australians who travel to Bali and make the Island their second home, the Australian government sees the need to intensify cooperation with Indonesia in general and Bali in particular.

As reported by Metrobali.com, main areas of cooperation between the Northern Territory and Bali will be in the areas of health, education and trade.

As the same time, the Government of Australia is seeking to open employment opportunities for workers and students to undergo brief periods of training in Darwin and other parts of Australia. The reputation of the University of Darwin is internationally recognized and offers excellent opportunities for training qualified Indonesians.

Governor Pastika welcomed his visitors and the offer of assistance from Australia’s North. Explaining that bi-lateral cooperation was the purview of Indonesia’s Foreign Minister, he said he would nonetheless adopt a pro-active role in seeing their offer is brought before the Indonesian Foreign Minister and comes to fruition.

Pastika said he was confident that the cooperation between Northern Australia and Bali would be mutually beneficial to both parties. Underlining this point, Pastika told of the existing cooperation between the Indera Hospital in Bali and the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Center in Darwin. That project encompasses assistance in the area of hospital management, manpower training and equipment.

The Indera Hospital performs 3,000 cataract operations each year. Pastika is hopeful that in the future such medical cooperation could be extended to include Denpasar's Sanglah General Hospital.

Pastika explained that the ASEAN Economic Community will take effect in less than 2 years easing the flow of materials and manpower, including medical personnel, between Bali and the rest of ASEAN. “To meet these challenges, we need to prepare ourselves. Hopefully through training we can improve the quality of our medical personnel,” said the Governor.

The Governor also expressed the wish that the University of Darwin will be able to lend educational assistance to universities in Bali, such as Udayana University.