Australia has confirmed the limits of 11 million square kilometres of continental shelf providing certainty over areas to which Australia has exclusive rights.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr and Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson welcomed the making of the Seas and Submerged Lands (Limits of Continental Shelf) Proclamation 2012, which defines an area larger than the Australian mainland.
"This proclamation represents an historic milestone in confirming the areas where Australia has the exclusive right to explore and exploit marine resources," Ms Roxon said
"Proclaiming the outer limit of the continental shelf provides more certainty in the geographic application of legislation applying to the continental shelf.
"This is a major step towards the completion of defining the totality of Australia's maritime zones under the Seas and Submerged Lands Act."
"Australia has the exclusive right to explore and utilise the resources of the seabed within our continental shelf, including oil, gas, minerals and biological resources," Mr Ferguson said.
"The proclamation includes large areas of continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles which are based on the 2008 recommendations of the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf."
The proclamation is the culmination of nearly twenty years of persistent scientific, legal and diplomatic work by government agencies, particularly Geoscience Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Attorney-General's Department.
"The proclamation demonstrates the practical benefits of Australia's international engagement in law of the sea matters and with the United Nations and its agencies," Senator Carr said.
"Australia has also provided technical and financial assistance to help relevant states, including our Pacific Island neighbours, benefit from confirmation of their maritime jurisdiction."
The Proclamation was made on 24 May 2012.
A copy of the map can be found at http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.au/Media-releases/PublishingImages/ECSmap.jpg
- Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555