Media release – Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste attends opening of Balibo Fort Hotel and Culture and Heritage Centre

Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste attends opening of Balibo Fort Hotel and Culture and Heritage Centre

20 March 2015

The Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Peter Doyle, delivered a speech at the opening of the Balibo Fort Hotel and Culture and Heritage Centre. Mr Doyle joined senior members of the government of Timor-Leste, the Hon Steve Bracks, former Australian Premier of Victoria, the board of the Balibo House Trust and local dignitaries to inaugurate this important new tourist destination.

“The opening of the Balibo Fort Hotel and the Culture and Heritage Centre is a historic and poignant occasion in Australia – Timor-Leste relations” said Ambassador Doyle. “It was here that the ‘Balibo Five’, those five young journalists from Australia, New Zealand and the UK met their deaths on 16 October 1975. The new facilities will stand as a memorial to Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham, Malcolm Rennie, Brian Peters and Tony Stewart. The hotel and Culture and Heritage Centre will offer visitors the chance to understand this story and to learn more about Timor-Leste’s history.”

Australia is proud to support the Balibo Fort Hotel through a unique partnership between the Australian Government’s Market Development Facility, the Balibo House Trust and the private sector.

This important initiative can stimulate the growth of tourism-related private sector activity and jobs in the Balibo area, particularly through local tours, activities and hospitality. Tourism is one of the sectors that Timor-Leste has identified as being the most important to diversifying the economy.

“On behalf of the Australian Government, I would like to congratulate the people of Balibo, all our partners in this initiative and the Government of Timor-Leste” the Ambassador said. “We hope that many more Australians and people from other nations will visit Balibo and elsewhere in Timor-Leste to experience all the delights this proud young nation has to offer.”