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Abu Dhabi municipal delegation's visit to Australia successful

posted on 26/10/2008: 3529 views

The Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA) delegation visiting Australia this week, has been highly successful in developing a sister city arrangement with Queensland's capital of Brisbane.

Undersecretary, H.E. Ahmed Shareef, head of the DMA delegation, including senior municipal executives, have met with Queensland government officials to familiarise them with the roles and functions of Australian government departments and municipal entities.

The delegation has met with top Queensland government officials including: representatives from the Queensland Department of Local Government and Department of Infrastructure and Planning, Brisbane City Council Chairperson Margaret de Wit and Gold Coast City Council Mayor Ron Clarke MBE. Ms de Wit also hosted a luncheon for H.E. Ahmed Shareef.

Commenting on the visit Shareef, said, "there is mutual interest in our two cities developing a sister city arrangement, which would provide a whole range of opportunities for investment, exporting, education and further collaboration. There is a growing awareness of a vast range of opportunities through such an arrangement between the cities of Abu Dhabi and Brisbane".

Briefings with Brisbane City Council's representatives reinforced the DMA's underlying theme of the importance of government services that directly affect the people's lives being delivered by a government structure at a local level rather than a centralized government structure.

He added, "They provided many innovative examples of planning and administrative structures that Abu Dhabi would like to learn from to incorporate as part of our largest ever regulatory and economic reforms that we are implementing to plan for future growth and help drive foreign investment. They also discussed the hurdles to be overcome to avoid bottlenecks occurring in municipal planning approval processes." Shareef said, "The visit has provided DMA executives with the opportunity to establish a close working relationship with our Queensland counterparts. We are committed to learning from and collaborating with similar foreign entities such as Brisbane to apply these structures into our own system to ensure we develop efficient and sustainable growth in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi." Tomorrow the delegation will meet with Gold Coast City Council Mayor Ron Clarke, MBE, and the Council's Economic Development Branch to learn how the Gold Coast maintains its competitive tourist environment. They will also attend an afternoon visit and tour of Bond University's School of Sustainable Development.

The six-day trip has included meeting with government representatives in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Australian capital of Canberra. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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