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"A proposed resource sharing agreement with East Timor expected to go before Federal Cabinet in the next few weeks would see the royalties split 50/50 but on the condition that East Timor suspends any claims of sovereignty over the area for up to fifty years. While a 50% split of the Greater Sunrise gas field would be a big improvement on the miserly 18% previously offered, it still falls well short of East Timor's legal entitlements under International Law." ACTU President Sharan Burrow

Australian Council of Trade Unions

Media Release


Unions Call For E Timor To Get Fair Share Of Timor Gap Oil


ACTU 15 June 2005


Ahead of a visit by the Prime Minister of East Timor, Mari Alkatiri, to Melbourne this week, the Australian Council of Trade Unions has renewed its calls for East Timor to gain a fairer share of the benefits from gas and oil development in the Timor Sea.


Commenting on the visit by East Timor Prime Minister, ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:


"A proposed resource sharing agreement with East Timor expected to go before Federal Cabinet in the next few weeks would see the royalties split 50/50 but on the condition that East Timor suspends any claims of sovereignty over the area for up to fifty years.


While a 50% split of the Greater Sunrise gas field would be a big improvement on the miserly 18% previously offered, it still falls well short of East Timor's legal entitlements under International Law.


While East Timor says important details of the proposal are still to be negotiated, the indications are that the Australian Government has taken a disappointing position and has no intention of agreeing to equitable borders with East Timor and has instead opted for yet another temporary resource sharing arrangement.


Like any sovereign nation, East Timor is entitled to permanent maritime boundaries established in accordance with International Law. The recent negotiations have not been balanced and East Timor has not been in a fair bargaining position. Facing extreme levels of hunger and disease, I can understand why the East Timorese Government, in desperate need of funds, would be willing to consider the proposed deal.


As Australians, what we now need to do is ensure that our Government also allows East Timor a fair share of the flow-on benefits such as employment and other economic benefits of on-shore infrastructure and investment.


The ACTU calls on the Australian Government to ensure that East Timor enjoys an equitable share of the anticipated 8,790 jobs and expected $11 billion boost to the economy generated by the processing of East Timorese oil and gas. The ACTU recognises that such development would enable East Timor to alleviate poverty and to build a sustainable industry.


The ACTU also sees the serious need for the proposed deal to include substantial and tangible provisions for training so that East Timor is well equipped to managed future projects.


Unions have been active in providing aid and development assistance to East Timor through the overseas aid arm of the union movement, Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA. We support any moves that will provide jobs for East Timorese or put their economy on a more sustainable footing," Ms Burrows said.



Contact Details
Ian Wilson
Ph:  0408 513 849




Source:
http://www.actu.asn.au/public/news/1118799752_3042.html



See also:


Timor Sea Talks between Timor-Leste & Australia:
http://www.pcug.org.au/~wildwood/talks.html


APHEDA - Union Aid Abroad:
* Home:
http://www.apheda.org.au



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