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Government should hold Greater Sunrise gas revenue in trust.

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GOVERNMENT SHOULD HOLD GREATER SUNRISE GAS REVENUE IN TRUST The Australian Government should keep any revenue obtained from the Greater Sunrise gas field in trust until the seabed boundaries between Australia and East Timor have been determined under international law, according to the Australian Democrats. Democrats Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, said the Government should not help itself to resources that potentially belong to East Timor. “The Australian Government has bullied East Timor throughout the negotiations over the Timor Sea gas fields,” Senator Stott Despoja said. “It refuses to submit to international law and it will only sit down with East Timor twice a year to negotiate the boundaries. Meanwhile, it continues to issue exploration licenses and exploit oil resources in areas which potentially belong to East Timor.” The Democrats will move an amendment to the Greater Sunrise IUA Bill to ensure that any revenue obtained from the gas field is held in trust until the boundaries between Australian and East Timor have been finalised.

The amendment will implement a recommendation made by the Democrats in

2002 and was recently echoed by 54 senior US Congress Members, who wrote to Prime Minister Howard regarding the issue.

“By requiring the Australian Government to hold the billions of dollars of revenue it obtains from Greater Sunrise in trust, there will be a strong incentive for it to expedite the boundary negotiations.

“For a nation which played such a crucial leadership role in assisting East Timor’s transition to independence, it is tragic Australia is now treating our poorest neighbour so patronisingly and with such contempt.

“Where the Australian community could once be proud of our relationship with our newest neighbour, we now have reason to hang our heads in shame,” Senator Stott Despoja said.

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