Page 2166 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 22 June 2005

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initiative shown by the government. This campaign has been a direct result of community concern for the charities that work daily to help the vulnerable and less well off in our community.

To say that this problem is minor and to criticise the government over such a positive and successful move is appalling and in voicing this criticism Mr Pratt has contradicted himself and his colleagues. I would like the Assembly to know which of those two contradictory views the Leader of the Opposition supports, because it cannot be both of them.

Mr Quinlan: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.


MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (3.36): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) reasserts the importance to the City of Canberra of the Friendship Relationship with the District of Dili, and in the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation with the people of Timor-Leste;

(2) notes the progress made in talks between the Australian Government and the Government of Timor-Leste over maritime boundaries and Timor Sea resources last week;

(3) recognises:

(a) that the development of Timor Sea resources has the potential to contribute significantly to Timor-Leste’s development and economic self-sufficiency;

(b) that industrial development will provide an economic future for Timor-Leste, guaranteeing skills and income for the nation’s people; and

(c) the importance of sovereignty to Timor-Leste in the negotiation of a permanent maritime boundary; and

(4) urges the Australian Government to conduct ongoing negotiations in good faith, and to consider the economic and political sovereignty of Timor-Leste as of paramount concern during negotiations.

When I placed this motion on the notice paper some weeks ago, negotiations between the federal government and the government of Timor-Leste, East Timor, over the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea and the maritime boundary between the two countries were still continuing. Official negotiations are still under way, though it has been reported that after a further three days of negotiations in Dili there has been “substantial agreement on all major issues”.

That is a pleasing outcome, firstly, because the agreement appears to guarantee substantial income to the fledgling state from the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea and, secondly, because the capacity of the East Timorese government to progress its

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