26 March 2014
Twelve Indonesian representatives from government, academia, industry and the community have arrived at the University of the Sunshine Coast to learn more about how to sustainably manage their East Lombok coastline and islands.
They have received Australia Awards Fellowships from the Australian Government to participate in a USC-led program to help East Lombok generate tourism and economic development while conserving its environment.
USC’s International Projects Group welcomed the Fellows to the Sippy Downs campus, where they will attend lectures and workshops before visiting Fraser Island and other Queensland examples of sustainable tourism.
USC Lecturer in Tourism, Leisure and Events Management Dr Gayle Mayes said the month-long program would showcase USC’s expertise in diverse fields while boosting collaboration between the countries.
The program is supported by Lombok’s University of Mataram, the Nusa Tenggara Barat Provincial Government, the Regency of East Lombok and the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, as well as Garuda Airlines.
Australia Award Fellowship recipient Gufranuddin, who is head of East Lombok’s Tourism Office, said 10 of the Fellows had never been to Australia.
“Although Indonesia and Australia are neighbours, many Indonesian people do not know about Australia and also many Australians do not know Indonesia,” he said. “It is hoped that our visit will strengthen the relationships.”
Gufranuddin said East Lombok’s kilometres of coastline and islands were home to more than one million people, including many farmers and fisherman living below the poverty line, so conservation and economic improvement were vital.
USC’s International Projects Group received almost $300,000 in funding for the East Lombok project through Australian Aid administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It follows a similar USC project involving Lombok in 2012.
— Julie Schomberg