New South Wales, Jakarta agree to promote economic relations

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The administrations of Jakarta and the state of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia are seeking to enhance their sister state-province relationship, with NSW sending a delegation of businesspeople to Indonesia this week.

"We hope our visit promotes the relationship between Jakarta and NSW, which have been sister cities since 1994," Vice Chairman of the Australia Indonesia Business Council (AIBC) John Murray told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Murray, who was speaker at the NSW Parliament between 1995 and 2003, said the delegation was interested in several projects, especially in the areas of water purification and cattle breeding.

Murray said that aside from holding discussions with Jakarta officials, the delegation also met with several Indonesian businesspeople. They were scheduled to visit Yogyakarta on Saturday to set up three water filter units in earthquake affected areas manufactured by the NSW-based Sky Juice Foundation.

David Hughes from Sky Juice Foundation, a non-profit organization aiming to provide low-cost pure water for children, said various parties had been consulted in relation to the project.

"We will set up the units in ... earthquake-afflicted areas, cooperating with the Sultan (Hamengku Buwono X), Australian Aid International and CHF International," he said.

He said the foundation also installed a water filter Wednesday in Jakarta's Kramat Jati area, which was badly hit by flooding in the capital in February.

"The water filter unit at Kramat Jati was established in cooperation with the Subud and Susila Dharma spiritual organizations, who provided the location so that the community could benefit from clean water," he said.

Hughes said his foundation sold water filtering equipment to other NGOs for installment in schools, hospitals, clinics and refugee camps. He said one unit, priced at around US$3,500, could provide clean water for up to 1,000 people per day.

He said Sky Juice had distributed over 300 units in cooperation with NGOs and government agencies worldwide, including in East Timor, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand,.

The organization set up 300 water filters in Sri Lanka and one in Aceh after the 2004 tsunami, Hughes said.

"Sri Lanka got more units because it has better NGOs. We are looking for partnerships with Indonesian NGOs to provide portable water to communities here," he said.

AIBC delegation member Welly Salim from Oceanic Cattle Stations said his company provided Indonesian markets with Brahman Cross and Droughtmaster cattle.

Salim, an Indonesian who gained Australian citizenship in 1978, said his company would ship 16-month old cattle to Indonesia for fattening in three months.

"Our cattle shipments reached 860,000 (head of cattle) in the first eight months of 2007, indicating a 20 percent increase from the same period last year," he said.

Advisor to the Jakarta Investment Board, Budihardjo Sukmadi, said the Jakarta administration would send a delegation to NSW in October.

He said during the visit, the Jakarta delegation would discuss several projects, including a $3 billion sewerage project.

"The sewerage project will help improve city planning and ground water quality," he said, adding that the project required a seven-year investment period and a 30-year concession period. (14)
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