Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, I Gde Ardika, used the inauguration of international health facilities at Bali's General Hospital on July 2, 2004, to call attention to the growing confidence that foreign tourists feel regarding Bali's security situation.
As reported in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, the Minister said, "they (the tourists) feel safer and more secure holidaying here because of the international standard of health facilities now available in Bali." Minister Ardika was accompanying President Megawati Soekarnoputri at the official opening of a number of new health facilities at Bali's main general hospital.
Minister Ardika pointed to the assistance of the Australian Government in upgrading health facilities in Bali as concrete proof of the increasingly strong bond existing between the people of Indonesia and Australia.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Chris Gallus, attending the ceremonies at the General Hospital quipped that many of his fellow Australian forget to bring their passports when traveling to Bali, feeling that Bali is a part of their own country. These confused tourists later explain their failure to bring their passports as due to the fact that Bali feels very much like their own backyard and the Balinese people are viewed like good neighbors.
12 October Australian Memorial Center
The Burn Unit at the 12 October Australian Memorial Center, donated by the Australian Government to help complete the medical facilities available at Bali's General Hospital, is a living symbol of the affection of the Australian people for the Balinese. Approximately 2 million Australians or 10% of the Australian population have taken a holiday in Bali.
During the July 2, 2004, ceremony the Australian Government's donation of a burn unit worth AU$ 4.5 million was symbolically handed over to President Megawati by Parliamentarian Chris Gallus.
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