Gov upbeat on Bali-Oz humanitarian projects

Despite the recent tension between Indonesia and Australia, Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika is optimistic that the ongoing humanitarian cooperation between the province and Australia will continue to flourish. “All humanitarian projects between Bali and Australia will be running without disruption despite the escalating political tension,” the governor confirmed. Pastika continued that the recent political tension would not affect any humanitarian projects. “For us in Bali, all humanitarian projects are people-to-people relations. It is all about humanity, nothing more than that,” added Pastika.

Over the last few years, Bali province and Australia have signed agreements to cooperate on a number of humanitarian projects. Cooperation between the Australian’s Northern Territory government and Bali province has resulted in close coordination between Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar and the Royal Darwin Hospital in Darwin. Under the agreement, signed in 2012, the two hospitals became sister hospitals. Several doctors and nurses from Sanglah Hospital participated in various training workshops to upgrade their skills. The Royal Darwin Hospital will be available to help Bali with various contingency plans.

It takes only two-hours-and-45 minutes to arrive at Royal Darwin from Bali by plane. The Royal Darwin Hospital evacuated and treated victims of the Bali bombings in October 2002 and October 2005 as Sanglah and other hospitals lacked the facilities and staff to treat the injured. In addition to sister hospital cooperation, Australia has also donated A$3 million (Rp 32 billion) for the establishment and operation of the Indera eye hospital in Denpasar, allowing the hospital to provide free cataract operations for all people in Bali. Pastika also added that Australia had showed its commitment to strengthening the capacity of Bali’s disaster management by upgrading the Bali Emergency Center for Disaster Management.

The center was constructed with the help of the French government through the French Red Cross. The center has four main functions —providing data and information; early warning system services, disaster response operation and emergency service response. “Australia is also eager to establish cooperation in disaster response with Bali, and we hope the plan will continue,” he said. Separately, member of House of Representatives’ Commission I overseeing defense and foreign affairs Helmy Fauzi affirmed that the Australian prime minister should openly apologize to the Indonesian people on the spying issue.

“The spying issue has become a public issue. So, the issue should not be solved through silent diplomacy such as closed communication between the Indonesian and Australian heads of state. “Nowadays, Indonesians are angry. The spying has harmed our dignity as a nation. We need a statement from the Australian prime minister to the Indonesian people for the illegal spying on our head of state and some high-ranking politicians,” he said during a visit to the Bali governor’s office on Wednesday.

source : bali daily

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