Another Council stands tall

 
 

Our friends at the Timor Sea Justice Campaign have posted that the Moreland City Council in Victoria passed a resolution on the 7th of December calling on the Australian Government to "immediately commence negotiations on permanent maritime boundaries with Timor-Leste, using a median line approach" and to "resubmit to the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, so that the boundaries can be settled by an independent body if necessary."

 
 

Here is the background statement and the motion passed by council:

Background

7 December was the 40th anniversary of the invasion of East Timor. 

The Timor Sea Treaty following the restoration of independence in Timor-Leste in May 2002 did not settle the maritime boundaries between Australia and Timor-Leste. If these boundaries were set in accordance with International Law, the significant fields of gas located outside the treaty zone of co-operation would belong to Timor-Leste as part of its exclusive economic zone. If so, one such field – the Greater Sunrise Field – located just 150 km from Timor’s shore and may generate some $40 billion for Timor-Leste. 

However, immediately prior to the restoration of independence in Timor-Leste, the Australia government withdrew recognition of the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Even a minor adjustment of these maritime boundaries in accordance with International Law would shift billions of dollars of potential revenue from Australia to Timor-Leste. Yet Australia refuses to negotiate a permanent maritime boundary with Timor-Leste placing in jeopardy its legacy in, and friendship with, Timor-Leste.

This Moreland council has had a long and distinguished record of support for the people and government of Timor Leste. Moreland and Hume councils first established a friendship relationship with the District of Aileu in Timor-Leste in 2000, and have continued that relationship, signing five-year Friendship Agreements in 2005 and 2010. 

Former Moreland Mayor Lambros Tapinos visited the district in 2014 to discuss practical assistance for the local district of Aileu

Motion:

That the Moreland council

1. Calls on the Australian government to immediately commence negotiations on permanent maritime boundaries with Timor-Leste, using a median line approach; 

2. Calls on the Australian government to resubmit to the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, so that the boundaries can be settled by an independent body if necessary;

3. Resolves to write to the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to inform them of this resolution.