Bill introduced to implement Treaty with Timor-Leste

Joint media release with the Minister for Foreign Affairs

The first tranche of legislation to implement the landmark Maritime Boundary Treaty with Timor-Leste has been introduced into the Australian Parliament today.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said Australia and Timor-Leste enjoy longstanding and deep ties, as close neighbours and friends.

“We made history together on 6 March this year when, through a world-first conciliation process under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, we signed a treaty establishing permanent maritime boundaries,” Minister Payne said.

The Bill tabled in Parliament today signifies our commitment to ratifying the new treaty, and to the positive chapter it opens in our bilateral partnership.”

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Matt Canavan, said among other actions the Bill repealed the Petroleum (Timor Sea Treaty) Act 2003.

“This Bill establishes the Greater Sunrise Special Regime as an area of joint Australian and Timor-Leste jurisdiction and alters offshore petroleum permits and licences to reflect the new maritime boundary,” Senator Canavan said.

“The treaty provides for transitional arrangements to deliver stability and certainty for companies with operations in the Timor Sea, so they are not disadvantaged.

Further legislation may be needed in this respect, but the Australian Government is keen to proceed with implementation of the core elements of the Treaty,” Senator Canavan said.

“We are working closely with our Timorese counterparts and affected petroleum companies to conclude these transitional arrangements.”

The 2018 Treaty between Australia and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Establishing Their Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea includes consequential amendments to 18 Acts across two Bills: the Timor Sea Maritime Boundaries Treaty Consequential Amendments Bill 2018 and the Passenger Movement Charge Amendment (Timor Sea Maritime Boundaries) Treaty Bill 2018.

The treaty will enter into force, through an exchange of diplomatic notes, only when Australia and Timor-Leste have implemented their respective domestic obligations to give effect to the treaty and when the transitional arrangements process is complete. The Government looks forward to bringing the new treaty with Timor-Leste into force as soon as possible.

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