|Issue No 61||07 July 2000|
MUA Helps Deliver Rice for Timor
By Zoe Reynolds
A joint effort involving the Maritime Union of Australia, the Rice Growers' Co-op, the Navy, Toll Logistics, a community aid group and a local MP, has resulted in a 40 tonne shipment of rice being loaded for East Timor.
MUA Assistant National Secretary Mick O'Leary approached the rice growers co-op earlier this year as part of the union's involvement in the Friends of East Timor, Newcastle appeal.
Mr Cameron Prowse, Business and Commodity Market Manager, Rice Grower's Co-operative Ltd, agreed to donate the grain to the East Timorese, Mr Steve Ford of Toll Transport offered free transportation to Newcastle and the local wharfies said they'd donate their labour in getting it onto a ship.
But the only ships servicing Dili by the time the rice was ready, were Navy vessels. So Newcastle MP Bryce Gaudry (ALP) arranged for the shipment to go with the HMAS Jervis Bay fast sealift catamaran out of Sydney.
"The union has been working closely with Friends of East Timor up in Newcastle ince day one," said Mick O'Leary.
"We've got together dozens of containers of donations and arranged to have them shipped over -- clothing, canned food, cutlery, pots and pans, sanitary pads, plastic buckets, pens and pencils, chairs and tables, tents, bedding, sewing machines, bicycles, a carton of beer, iron roofing, hardware, picks and shovels, a water filter, surgery buckets, hospital trolleys and beds, an electro cardiogram machine, a massage table -- you name it.
"Friends of East Timor have even come up with a Toyota van and a Commodore to help get the aid out to the mountains and more remote areas."
The estimated $30,000 rice donation come from the 2000 rice farmers in the Murrumbidgee irrigation area around Leeton and Coleambally, in South West NSW.
"It's a collaborative effort, involving everyone from the union, the farmers, the transport guys, the navy and community groups here and in Dili," said Co-Op spokesperson Cameron Prowse. "It's an interesting combination. "
The 40 tonnes of rice, some medical supplies and a second hand Holden Commodore were loaded onto the HMAS Jervis Bay in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, for Dili Timor, this morning.
Soccer balls for East Timorese kids
Meanwhile, former Socceroo captain Alex Tobin is in East Timor with over $3,000 worth of soccer balls which will be distributed amongst the children at soccer camps in Dili and Alieu on Monday 3 July and Tuesday 4 July.
Tobin's two day visit was organised by the Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU) as a joint venture with Soccer Australia to help the youth of East Timor-soccer is the most popular sport there.
The soccer balls were purchased by the CFMEU for the kids through donation by union members many of whom are of Portuguese origin.
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