Australia is participating in the first meeting of the Conciliation Commission proceedings brought by Timor-Leste under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in The Hague.

We will deliver a statement explaining the background of the dispute between Australia and Timor-Leste, as well as our position on matters relating to the legal competence (jurisdiction) of the Commission.

In line with our pre-existing, legally binding treaties, which are in full accordance with international law, we will argue that the Commission does not have jurisdiction to conduct hearings on maritime boundaries.

Australia will abide by the Commission's finding as to whether it has jurisdiction to hear matters on maritime boundaries.

If the Commission ultimately finds that it does have jurisdiction to hear matters on maritime boundaries, then its final report on that matter is not binding.

Our statement reaffirms our principled commitment to upholding existing treaty obligations with Timor-Leste. These have benefited both our countries, and enabled Timor-Leste to accumulate a Petroleum Fund worth more than $16 billion, more than eight times its annual GDP.

Australia's delegation will be led by Gary Quinlan AO, Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and will consist of officials from DFAT and the Attorney-General's Department, as well as the Solicitor-General.

The statement will be live-streamed through the website of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which is facilitating the conciliation process, at https://pca-cpa.org/en/news/timor-leste-australia/.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555