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Rally calls for fair Timor Sea boundaries

ABC News - May 20, 2004

A Central Sydney rally has called on the Australian Government to give East Timor its fair share of revenue from Timor Sea oil and gas reserves.

Australia and East Timor are negotiating a maritime border in the Timor Sea. An interim treaty was implemented 12 months ago until a more permanent arrangement is found.

Aid agency Oxfam claims Australia is cheating East Timor out of $1 million a day but the Federal Government says it has been "extremely generous".

In Sydney's Martin Place a mock birthday cake was presented to East Timor's Consul General Abel Guterres. He was only allowed a small slice to represent what the Timor Justice Campaign says is East Timor's share of the royalties of gas and oils in the Timor Sea.

Sister Susan Connelly from the Mary Mckillop Institute says the Government's claim is a lie. "As always we take the biggest cut for ourselves and run off," she said. She says a just sharing of resources will mean the difference between life and death for some East Timorese.

Mr Guterres told the rally he is confident East Timor will get its fair share of revenue. "I'm sure Australians don't want to be seen as letting East Timorese down because a failed state in East Timor is no good for Australia, as Australia still has to pick up the pieces," he said. "I'm sure that goodwill prevail, common sense will prevail."

Around 100 people attended the rally.