Australian High CommissionerBryce Hutchessonvisited the Southern Province from 17 to 19 August, where he met with Government and business interlocutors and visitedSri Lankan Government infrastructure projects and Australian Government-supported development projects.
In Hambantota, Hutchesson toured the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, the International Convention Centre and the MagamRuhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port. He had productive discussions on the economic and development situation with Hambantota District Secretary W.H. Karunaratneand the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce.
Hutchesson heard about the excellent work the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce has done with two Australian Management Advisers, funded through the Australian Volunteers for International Development program.
The Forestry Department briefed Hutchesson on the Community Forestry Program, funded by Australia. Hutchesson also visited aNational Livestock Development Board farm at Ridiyagama, home to 2500 Australian dairy cattle managed jointly by Australian company Wellard.Wellard has supplied dairy cattle, infrastructure, equipment and management to Sri Lanka.
In Tangalle, the High Commissioner visited the Aruna Plant Nursery where Australian funding through the Market Development Facility program is assisting in establishing a tissue culture lab to help Sri Lankan farmers grow bananas for the tourism industry and export market.
Hutchesson met with State Minister of Finance Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena in Matara and discussed the Government’s economic reform strategy. The High Commissioner also met with the Matara District Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss business and opportunities and challenges in Matara District.
In Seenigama Hutchesson toured the Foundation of Goodness, learning about its extensive program of activities and livelihood training and its medical and sporting facilities.There is a long history of Australian support for the Foundation of Goodness.