Wednesday, 07 March 2018

Australia and Timor-Leste sign Maritime Boundary Treaty

Media release

The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Hon Christian Porter MP

Senator the Hon Matthew Canavan
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia

Today we signed the Treaty between Australia and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Establishing Their Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea.

The treaty is an historic agreement that opens a new chapter in our bilateral relationship. It establishes permanent maritime boundaries between our countries and provides for the joint development and management of the Greater Sunrise gas fields.

The treaty delivers certainty for both countries.  Australia and Timor-Leste have agreed that we will exercise joint rights over the seabed containing the Greater Sunrise field. Seventy or eighty per cent of the revenue from developing Greater Sunrise will flow to Timor-Leste, depending on the final development concept to be agreed upon by Timor-Leste and Australia.

This will require the support of the private sector oil and gas joint venture companies whose capacity to develop and operate the project will depend on its economic viability.

The Treaty also puts in place transitional provisions to ensure certainty and security for affected offshore petroleum operations in the Timor Sea.

The treaty is the outcome of the first ever conciliation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  The Australian Government expresses its appreciation to the Conciliation Commissioners and the staff of the Permanent Court of Arbitration for their vital role in assisting Australia and Timor-Leste to reach agreement on the treaty.

The agreement is a testament to the way in which international law, in particular UNCLOS, reinforces stability and allows countries to resolve disputes peacefully. It is an example of the international rules-based order in action.