Political, economic and trade information
- Timor-Leste country brief
- Timor-Leste country/economy fact sheet [PDF]
- Joint Communiqué: A new chapter and revitalised partnership
Bilateral relations with Timor-Leste
As Australia's Foreign Policy White Paper highlights, a strong and prosperous Timor-Leste is of fundamental importance to Australia. As close neighbours and friends, Australia and Timor-Leste have a deep and enduring bilateral relationship. Our relationship is based on support for Timor-Leste’s development, strong security and defence ties and close people-to-people links.
Australia is fully committed to supporting the independence, sovereignty and economic sustainability of Timor-Leste. We are Timor-Leste's leading development assistance partner ($105.2 million in total ODA in 2020-21) and we support Timor-Leste's objective of economic diversification and private sector growth through our development cooperation and labour mobility schemes.
Australia has been Timor-Leste’s primary partner in its immediate COVID-19 response and early economic recovery. We have drawn upon existing partnerships and investments, while deploying new resources, to support Timor-Leste’s response across a range of sectors.
Australia is Timor-Leste’s largest security partner, providing support to Timor-Leste's armed forces and national police. We also cooperate closely on regional security issues, including maritime security, border security and transnational crime.
Australia’s people-to-people links with Timor-Leste are strong, founded on decades of engagement with one of our closest neighbours.
The bilateral relationship is maintained through regular, high-level engagement by Australian and Timorese Ministers, Members of Parliament and officials.
Recent high-level engagement has included:
- a visit by to Dili by the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in August 2019 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Popular Consultation; and
- a visit to Dili by the Minister for Defence Lynda Reynolds and Minister for Veterans Affairs Darren Chester in September 2019 for the 20th anniversary of the arrival in Timor-Leste of the Australian-led International Force for East Timor (INTERFET).
Since the onset of COVID-19, Australian Ministers and the Prime Minister have continued to engage the Government of Timor-Leste through phone calls with their counterparts.
Revitalised bilateral partnership
On 30 July 2018 Australia and Timor-Leste signed a joint communique on a revitalised bilateral partnership. This communique commits Australia and Timor-Leste to a new chapter in bilateral relations.
Areas of deepened cooperation include trade, investment and economic links, seasonal workers, maritime security and Timor-Leste's socio-economic development.
The revitalised partnership focuses not only on close bilateral cooperation but on working together in the Indo-Pacific region and globally. The two countries agreed to increase consultation and cooperation in regional and international forums. Australia also reiterated its support for Timor-Leste’s efforts to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Australia and Timor-Leste also agreed to continue constructive discussions on the development of the Greater Sunrise resource, noting its importance for Timor-Leste's prosperity.
Visit to Timor-Leste by Prime Minister Morrison and Foreign Minister Payne
On 30-31 August 2019 Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne visited Dili to participate in Timor-Leste’s commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the Popular Consultation that led to Timor-Leste’s independence. This was the first visit by an Australian Prime Minister to Timor-Leste in more than a decade.
During the visit, the Prime Minister and Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak exchanged diplomatic notes that brought into force our historic Maritime Boundary Treaty.
The Prime Minister also announced Australia’s support for the completion of a Front-End Engineering Design of an undersea internet cable linking Australia and Timor-Leste.
Recent media statements
- Media release: Standing with our region in response to COVID-19
- Media release: Coronavirus assistance to Pacific and Timor-Leste
- Transcript: Joint Press Conference with the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
- Media release: Visit to Timor-Leste
- Media release: Timor-Leste joins the Pacific Labour Scheme
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Heads of Government
Embassies and consulates
- Timor-Leste in Transition 1998-2000: An Australian Policy Challenge
- Australia and the Indonesian Incorporation of Portuguese Timor 1974-1976
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
R.G. Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221
- Telephone: (02) 6261 1111
- Fax: (02) 6261 1743