As East Timor stands on the threshold of independence after decades of oppression, Australia is threatening its financial security by clouding the issue of ownership of oil and gas in the Timor Gap.
Australia is refusing to accept the international jurisdiction of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, which provides a means by which disputes over seabed sovereignty can be resolved. The Timor Gap contains potentially billions of dollars worth of oil and gas which would be crucial to the future development and prosperity of the fledgling East Timorese nation. Unlike Australia, East Timor has agreed to abide by the Convention. The ACTU condemns the governments arrogant disregard for the rights of the East Timorese. East Timor says any treaty or agreement between the two countries must be based on U.N. Convention and the courts of international law. It must also guarantee the participation of the East Timorese in 3 important areas:
- a fair share of employment
- access to training for workers
- a role in monitoring a fair split in resources and profit Australia must stop playing games with the future of the worlds newest nation.