In continuing its important role in Timor Leste’s building and construction industry, Community Housing Limited (CHL) has commenced work on the historically significant site of Balibo Fort. The Fort was built in the Seventeenth Century by the Portuguese and is strategically located on the top of a hill on the border with Indonesia.
In June 2010, former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, on behalf of the Balibo House Trust, secured the site for redevelopment by signing a 30 year lease (15 years with an option for another 15 years) with Timor Leste’s Ministry of Justice.
Soon afterwards, the Balibo House Trust signed a design contract with CHL to design the rehabilitation of the existing fort house and fort walls, and also a new accommodation wing with eight rooms.
Considering the delicacy of this work, CHL is working closely with the Secretary of State for Culture of Timor Leste in order to improve the building’s appeal while respecting and preserving its cultural significance.
This project is the next stage in the redevelopment of the Balibo Fort area, and carries on from the 2003 restoration of Balibo Flag House, a gift from the people of Victoria to honour all those who suffered or died in Timor’s struggle for freedom which includes the Balibo Five, the Australian journalists who were killed by Indonesian forces on the site in 1975.
“This is an exciting and significant project to be a part of. Given Australia’s strong ties with the district and the significance of Balibo Flag House for Australians, CHL’s role in restoring the Fort House, designing and building a hotel, and repairing the Fort walls will give a tremendous lift to the area and be more attractive as a destination for visitors,” says CHL’s Managing Director Steve Bevington.
In keeping with its approach of engagement only after proper consultation and support from local community groups, the work group undertook a series of meetings with community leaders in Balibo including the Bobonaro District Administrator Senõr Domingos Martins, the Balibo Sub-District Administrator Senõr Paulo dos Santos, Village Chiefs from Balibo and surrounding villages, and a number of other important local community figures.
Initial funds for the project have been raised by the Balibo House Trust, established by the Victorian State Government and Chaired by MP Rob Hudson.
Community Housing Limited (CHL) is a national and international provider of affordable housing.
Its mission is ‘to provide affordable and sustainable housing for all’. CHL is a registered Housing organisation in Victoria and an approved growth provider in NSW, Tasmania, WA and SA. Its international operations are located in Timor Leste, Chile, and most recently India.
CHL is a vertically integrated operation that manages the entire housing lifecycle: securing funding, locating suitable land, project managing, designing and constructing, then managing the tenancy for the long term which includes collecting rents and maintaining the property.
For more information on CHL, contact:
Manager – Executive Services
t 03 9856 0050
m 0430 555 241