Australia – Timor-Leste Foreign Ministers’ meeting

  • Media release

Australia and Timor-Leste have reaffirmed their close partnership at the first in-person meeting of Foreign Ministers since the COVID-19 pandemic, to advance cooperation on regional health security and shared economic recovery.

Today in Canberra, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and Timor-Leste Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Her Excellency, Adaljiza Magno, signed the first bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme.

The PALM scheme brings together the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Workers Programme under a single program that helps build capacity to address workforce shortages in Australia, particularly in agriculture and across regional areas, and strengthens worker protections.

The Morrison Government recognises the outstanding contribution that Timor-Leste workers have made to our economy throughout the pandemic, keeping food on shelves and contributing to the cultural and economic vibrancy of regional and rural communities. These programs benefit both countries; directly contributing to Timor-Leste's economic recovery and development.

Minister Payne also announced that Australia would provide $6 million over four years to strengthen Timor-Leste's engagement in multilateral forums, notably ASEAN and the WTO, including through building Timor-Leste's capacity to enter into regional trade agreements.

Australia will continue to partner with Timor-Leste in its response to the current COVID-19 and dengue outbreaks. Minister Payne confirmed Australia would provide 1.26 million Pfizer vaccine doses through UNICEF to Timor-Leste in 2022.

This year Australia and Timor-Leste celebrate the twentieth anniversary of diplomatic relations, and the Ministers welcomed the substantial expansion in cooperation between the two countries since Minister Payne visited Timor-Leste in August 2019 with Prime Minister Morrison.

Media enquiries