Pastor Simon Chen, Narromine Baptist Church

Love God, love people. According to Jesus, the books of the law and the books on the prophet rest on those four words (Matthew 22:40). Loving God is to put him above everything else in this world, but what does it mean to love others? Thankfully, someone actually asked Jesus this question too (Luke 10:29). According to Jesus it was to sacrificially give help to anyone in need (even if it is a hated enemy) and to do it without expecting anything in return.

There are many in this country who believe we should help those in need. This is why we have Medicare and Centrelink, both of which provide much help to those in desperate situations. For a while, we were also aiming to send 0.5 per cent of our Gross National Income (GNI) overseas to help fight poverty. Unfortunately we will not be able to do this now, with the current government planning to slash the overseas aid budget. It is quite a concerning move as Australian foreign aid has, will and could save thousands of lives. What is interesting is that some (or maybe all) of the savings made by slashing foreign aid will go to building roads here.

Let us for a moment consider East Timor (which has and could continue to benefit from Australian foreign aid). This is what the Lonely Planet guide has to say of its roads: “ most roads are deeply potholed and rutted. You’ll be lucky to average 30km/h, and even then you’ll need to be on the lookout for children, goats, dogs etc. Bridges and entire segments of road flood or wash away during the rainy season.”

When the UN and Australian forces pulled out of East Timor at the end of 2012 they took all their aircraft with them. Currently, there is one aircraft which flies domestically. For aid workers, domestic travellers, medical emergencies, this is the only option they have. Currently there are plans to raise the number of East Timorese domestic aircraft to two but more help is needed.

Yes, our roads will always need fixing, but perhaps we should be asking ourselves if we could be better neighbours.




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This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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