The current treaty arrangements between Australia and Timor-Leste have been hugely beneficial to Timor-Leste and have supported the accumulation of a $16 billion sovereign wealth fund. 

Revenues from the Joint Petroleum Development Area are split 90 percent to Timor-Leste and 10 percent to Australia. Despite these beneficial treaty arrangements, on 11 April 2016, Timor-Leste requested a Conciliation Commission under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to conciliate differences between Australia and Timor-Leste on maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea.  

The Conciliation Commission announced on 26 September that it has jurisdiction to proceed with the conciliation.  

Australia accepts the Commission’s decision and will continue to engage in good faith as we move to the next phase of the conciliation process.  This approach is consistent with our support for the rules-based international order.

Australia abides by the pre-existing and legally-binding 2002 Timor Sea Treaty and 2006 Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMATS). We seek to uphold these treaty arrangements which are consistent with international law and were negotiated in good faith.

We have a strong interest in Timor-Leste’s stability and growing prosperity, and in providing a stable and transparent framework for investment in the Timor Sea.  We are committed to working together to strengthen our relationship and overcome our differences in the Timor Sea.

The role of the Conciliation Commission is to assist the parties reach a settlement.  In accordance with the provisions of UNCLOS, the Commission will produce a report which, unlike an arbitration decision, is not legally binding.

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