Diplomat delves deeper
Australia’s ambassador to Myanmar toured the City of Karratha to meet members of local government, industry and the community last week on a regional outreach tour to help inform his foreign affairs work.
Nicholas Coppel, ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, visited Karratha, Dampier and Roebourne on a two-day trip last week after the Global Heads of Mission meeting in Canberra for national ambassadors, high commissioners and consulsgeneral.
His itinerary included a tour of the Woodside-operated North West Shelf Project, speaking to students at Karratha Senior High School, meeting rangers at Murujuga National Park and learning about programs at the Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation and Yinjaa-Barni Art in Roebourne.
Mr Coppel said ambassadors could choose a part of regional or remote Australia to tour after their Canberra meeting to explain their work overseas and receive feedback on how to better serve communities.
“I opted to come here to Karratha basically because of Woodside’s big investment in Myanmar,” he said.
“Woodside’s got the largest single Australian investment in Myanmar. It’s in offshore gas exploration and worth quite a lot of money.
“But I’d never seen their operations here in Australia, so this gave me that opportunity.”
But Mr Coppel said the Karratha area was also “much more than Woodside” and he had been glad to speak to community groups and schoolchildren as well.
“As an ambassador I represent all of Australia, and being able to speak confidently and authoritatively about what’s going on, about, if you like, the real Australia beyond the capital cities is quite important,” he said.
Mr Coppel said he might take home some Yinjaa-Barni Art works for a new chancery office in Myanmar.
Australian ambassador to Myanmar Nicholas Coppel, right, met Yinjaa Barni Art artists Alicia Sandy, with Teejay Warrie, 2, Melissa Sandy and Clifton Mack on a two-day trip to the Pilbara.