Brunei Darussalam country brief
Australia and Brunei Darussalam enjoy a warm and longstanding relationship focused on defence, trade and education links. Brunei is Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2021.
Australia has maintained a diplomatic presence in Brunei since it gained its full independence from the United Kingdom in 1984. However, our historical links stretch back to the Second World War when, in 1945, Australian forces landed at Muara Beach as part of the Allied campaign to liberate Borneo. In June 2005, Brunei's then Foreign Minister, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, agreed to an Australian proposal to erect a permanent memorial to mark the 1945 landings.
In February 2020, Foreign Minister Marise Payne visited Brunei Darussalam to hold talks with the Government of Brunei about bilateral and regional issues.
In October 2020, then Defence Minister Linda Reynolds visited Brunei Darussalam to hold talks with the Government of Brunei about strengthening defence cooperation and our shared commitment to regional security.
Trade and investment
Australia and Brunei share a common interest in a free and open trading system. We are both party to the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), and signatories to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) (not yet in force) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Brunei is yet to ratify the CPTPP.
As part of our collective response to combat the economic impacts of COVID-19, Australia and Brunei joined Canada, Chile, Myanmar, New Zealand and Singapore in signing a joint ministerial statement in March 2020 committing to maintaining open and connected supply chains.
Defence and security links
Australia has long-standing defence and security links with Brunei. We engage with Brunei through strategic dialogue and training, bilateral military exercises, and cooperation through ASEAN frameworks. A Defence adviser position, established at the start of 2021, reflects the deepening engagement on security related issues between Australia and Brunei.
Australia and Brunei cooperate closely on security threats facing the region and there are close links between Australian and Bruneian police, security, counter-terrorism and immigration authorities.
In 1999, Australia and Brunei signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Defence Activities, which recognises our common interest in the peace and stability of the region.
In 2005, Australia and Brunei signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism, providing for cooperation on customs, finance, immigration, intelligence, law enforcement, security and transport.
People to people links
Australia has a strong education relationship with Brunei. More than 12,000 Bruneian students have studied in Australia, including ministers, senior governments officials and successful business people. Brunei also participates in the New Colombo Plan as a host country.