Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

D14 - 25 January 2006

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND MARITIME DELIMITATION TREATY ENTERS INTO FORCE

The Australian and New Zealand Governments exchanged notes today at a ceremony in Wellington to bring into force a new treaty to establish our respective maritime boundaries. The Treaty between Australia and New Zealand establishing certain Exclusive Economic Zone Boundaries and Continental Shelf Boundaries settles what was Australia's longest unresolved maritime boundary.

In one of his last official duties before returning to Canberra, outgoing High Commissioner, Dr Allan Hawke, welcomed the entry into force of the Treaty as a sign of the strong state of trans-Tasman relations.

"The Treaty is an excellent outcome for both Australia and New Zealand and brings certainty of jurisdiction over the maritime area between our two countries. It details the jurisdiction over the water column and the seabed between Australia and New Zealand where the areas claimed by both countries previously overlapped," Dr Hawke said.

The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides the legal framework for this Treaty. Under UNCLOS, coastal States with overlapping claims are required to delimit their respective jurisdiction by agreement in order to achieve an equitable solution.

The entry into force of the Treaty comes after complex scientific analysis of the continental shelf in the Tasman Sea and four years of extensive negotiations which concluded in July 2004.

The following map outlines the new maritime boundaries agreed with New Zealand.

Contact: (DFAT) 02 6261 1555