Australia And Timor-Leste Update Defence Ties

Media release
07 Sep 2022
Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Defence, Minister for Foreign Affairs

Australia and Timor-Leste today signed a reciprocal Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA).

The DCA is a status of forces agreement that sets out the reciprocal protections, responsibilities and privileges each country will grant the military personnel of the other in its territory.

The DCA was signed by Defence Ministers following a meeting between Prime Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese MP and President Dr Jose Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste.

President Ramos-Horta is visiting Australia this week as a Guest of Government, hosted by His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor-General of Australia.

The DCA will allow Australia and Timor-Leste to increase defence and security cooperation, especially in the maritime domain, given our shared border and adjacent maritime zones.

It will enhance our ability to operate together as required, conduct exercises and training, and cooperate on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

The Agreement means Timorese military members operating, exercising or training in Australia will receive the same protections, responsibilities and privileges as Australian personnel will receive in Timor-Leste.

During their meeting, Prime Minister Albanese and President Ramos-Horta also discussed common security, economic cooperation, labour mobility and skills, the green economy and Australia’s support for Timor-Leste’s ASEAN membership bid.

Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese:

“Australia and Timor-Leste share a special relationship as neighbours with a shared history and deep ties.

“We have been working towards a DCA for over a decade and today’s signing is a significant step forward in our partnership.

“I was pleased to meet with President Ramos-Horta to discuss how we can strengthen cooperation, including Australia’s continued support for Timor-Leste’s development.

“I look forward to meeting my counterpart, Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak, at an early opportunity.”

Quotes attributable to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles:

"The signing of the DCA heralds a new chapter in Australia's close relationship with Timor-Leste.

“We are neighbours with a shared maritime domain, namely the Timor Sea.

"I look forward to seeing how the DCA will help enable joint maritime patrols between Australia and Timor-Leste."

Quotes attributable to Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Penny Wong:

“As a close friend and neighbour, Australia is committed to supporting Timor-Leste’s security and sovereignty, including through our enduring defence cooperation.

“Australia welcomes this DCA and the opportunity it provides to deepen our close defence and security partnership with Timor-Leste.

“This is a key milestone as we continue working together to maintain a stable, prosperous region.”