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Gifting of the police training centre chapel: speech, Dili

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Gifting of the police training centre chapel Policia Nacional de Timor Leste Training Centre, Dili, Timor Leste

14 December 2010


Good afternoon Commissioner Negus, Commander Osborne, Members of the Policia Nacional de Timor Leste (PNTL), ladies and gentlemen.

Today is a wonderful day for the National Police of Timor Leste, the Timor Leste Police Development Program and the people of Timor Leste, as we gather here to participate in the opening of the Police Training Centre Chapel. It is a privilege to be representing the Australian Government in this gifting ceremony, as the chapel is formally presented to the people of Timor Leste.

Timor Leste is a beautiful country and I’m delighted to be making my first visit here.

Overcoming the adversity that this great country has faced, I see signs of renewal and progress. I can see hope turning into reality.

Having had the honour to meet with many of Timor Leste’s leaders, I am convinced that this country is on the right path, with a clear plan as to what needs to be done for progress.

It has been an auspicious year for Timor Leste’s police, with 2010 marking its tenth anniversary. In June this year, 24 PNTL members graduated from a training program in Canberra that was designed to broaden policing experience and qualify the officers for United Nations peacekeeping missions.

In addition, Police Development Program members have continued to mentor Timor Leste police and help in their professional development. All of this is helping build the foundations for a more effective and accountable police service in this country.

Australia takes seriously all the Police Development Program initiatives and assisting the PNTL to renew and move forward is a high priority for us.

That’s why we’re investing more than $4 million in the the Police Training Centre in coming years and this lovely chapel, among many other law enforcement investments in Timor Leste.

The Timor Leste National Police continues to grow as an independent and professional police service. The recent handover of responsibility for ten districts, for which the PNTL now has primary policing responsibility, is a testament to the dedication of Timor Leste police officers.

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This chapel will provide a sanctuary to promote religious faith and the values of integrity, impartiality and respect for diversity. These are among the core values of policing, and I would contend, consistent with the goal of building a strong and inclusive society.

The chapel will provide a focal point for local police and their families to congregate as a community and worship in harmony. I understand that the chapel was designed, engineered and built by local companies and tradesmen including IDA and Concept Constructions. It is wonderful to see the culmination of all their hard work and the magnificent result that has been achieved.

The creation of the Chapel is just one part of building and development works taking place at the Police Training Centre. At the completion of this infrastructure project you will have a first rate training facility to take the PNTL forward into the future. I look forward to the completion of the whole project.

It gives me great pleasure to formally gift this chapel to the people of Timor Leste on behalf of the Government of Australia.

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