Australia — Major engineering project in East Timor nears completion

The Inter­na­tion­al Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Force (ISF) and the Defence Coop­er­a­tion Pro­gram (DCP) have part­nered with the East Tim­o­rese Defence Force (F‑FDTL) and the Unit­ed States Navy to recon­struct the Nu Laran school in Dili.

The Engi­neer­ing Civic Action Pro­gram (ENGCAP) is one of many ini­tia­tives being con­duct­ed through­out Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship 10, a US Fleet spon­sored mis­sion deliv­er­ing med­ical, den­tal, engi­neer­ing, and vet­eri­nary aid in South East Asia and Oceania. 

Rebuild­ing Nu Laran, which com­menced mid-July this year, has seen a dra­mat­ic improve­ment in the pri­ma­ry school’s class­rooms, bound­ary fences, recre­ation areas and walkways. 

ISF’s Engi­neer­ing Liai­son Offi­cer, Cap­tain Pete Mac­cheroni, from Brisbane’s Enog­gera Bar­racks, said the task has been inte­gral to improv­ing edu­ca­tion in the nation’s capital. 

“When we first got here, at least half of the schools were unten­able, they couldn’t hold any class­es in them, they had to be held out in the open ground, now we will have chil­dren under­cov­er and in a much more pro­duc­tive learn­ing environment.” 

“We are lucky in that we see tan­gi­ble results from the projects that we per­form, we get to see the smil­ing kids, they’re much more recep­tive, much hap­pi­er and they want to come to school,” he said. 

The ISF con­tin­ue to men­tor the F‑FDTL in trade skills such as car­pen­try, paint­ing, plumb­ing, elec­tri­cal work and plant operation. 

ISF Com­bat Engi­neer, Cor­po­ral Andrew Clif­ford, also from Brisbane’s Enog­gera Bar­racks, said the joint project is pro­gress­ing very well. 

“It’s been great work­ing along­side the F‑FDTL again; they are incred­i­bly skilled labour­ers, which has been a god­send to us on these sorts of con­struc­tion sites. It gives me and all the engi­neers involved a great deal of sat­is­fac­tion,” he said. 

US Navy Seabees Engi­neer­ing Offi­cer, Lieu­tenant John Angle, said the coor­di­na­tion, plan­ning and assis­tance dur­ing the project has been very strong. 

“We’re only a small detach­ment, there are only a hand­ful of us, but we’re ahead of sched­ule and have added in fences and con­crete paths. It’s been out­stand­ing work­ing with the ISF and F‑FDTL,” he said. 

Over 70 engi­neers have con­tributed to the Nu Laran recon­struc­tion, which will be com­plet­ed by Sep­tem­ber 15. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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