Subject: ABC: Govt accused of holding E Timor to ransom over gas

Tue, Feb 18 2003 9:28 PM AEDT Govt accused of holding E Timor to ransom over gas

Labor Senator for the Northern Territory Trish Crossin says the Federal Government is holding the East Timorese Government to ransom over gas from the Bayu Undan field north of Darwin.

Senator Crossin has revealed the draft Timor Sea Treaty bill has not been finished.

The Government must ratify the Timor Sea Treaty before companies can meet deadlines for contracts.

Senator Crossin says the Government has only four sitting days left in this session of Parliament to meet the gas company Conoco Phillips deadline of March 11.

"What this Government is seeking to do you see is to link the Timor Gap treaty with the unitisation negotiations quite separately. They are quite separate negotiations there is no need to link them," she said.

"This Government is choosing to almost hold the East Timor Government at ransom by trying to link the two."

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