Location of the Ashmore and Cartier Islands
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The Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands 320 km (199 mi) off the northwest coast of Australia and 144 km (89 mi) south of the Indonesian island of Rote.is an uninhabited external territory of Australia consisting of four low-lying tropical islands in two separate reefs, and the 12 nautical mile territorial sea generated by the islands. The territory is located in the Indian Ocean situated on the edge of the continental shelf, about
The states and territories are the first-level administrative divisions of the Commonwealth of Australia. They are the second level of government in Australia, located between the federal and local government tiers.
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
A reef is a bar of rock, sand, coral or similar material, lying beneath the surface of water. Many reefs result from abiotic processes, but the best known reefs are the coral reefs of tropical waters developed through biotic processes dominated by corals and coralline algae.
Ashmore Reef is called Pulau Pasir by Indonesians and Nusa Solokaek in the Rotenese language. Both names have the meaning "sand island".
The Territory comprises Ashmore Reef, which includes West, Middle, and East Islands, and two lagoons, and Cartier Reef, which includes Cartier Island. Ashmore Reef covers approximately 583 km2 (225.1 sq mi) and Cartier Reef 167 km2 (64 sq mi), both measurements extending to the limits of the reefs.
East Island is one of three islets of Ashmore Reef, which is a part of Ashmore and Cartier Islands. It is located at, about midway between Australia and Timor. It is often referred to as East Islet, a name that is used, for example, in The World Factbook; the islet's gazetted name is, however, East Island.
A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by barrier islands or reefs. Lagoons are commonly divided into coastal lagoons and atoll lagoons. They have also been identified as occurring on mixed-sand and gravel coastlines. There is an overlap between bodies of water classified as coastal lagoons and bodies of water classified as estuaries. Lagoons are common coastal features around many parts of the world.
West, Middle, and East Islands have a combined land area variously reported as 54 ha, 93 ha, and 112 ha (1 hectare is 0.01 km2, or about 2.5 acres). Cartier Island has a reported land area of 0.4 ha.
The hectare is an SI accepted metric system unit of area equal to a square with 100-metre sides, or 10,000 m2, and is primarily used in the measurement of land. There are 100 hectares in one square kilometre. An acre is about 0.405 hectare and one hectare contains about 2.47 acres.
By a British Order-in-council dated 23 July 1931, Ashmore and Cartier Islands were placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia, but Australia officially accepted the Territory on 10 May 1934 when the Ashmore and Cartier Islands Acceptance Act 1933 came into operation. The Act authorised the Governor of Western Australia to make Ordinances for the Territory. In July 1938 the Territory was annexed to the Northern Territory, then also administered by the Commonwealth, whose laws, ordinances and regulations applied to the Territory. When self-government was granted to the Northern Territory on 1 July 1978, administration of the Territory was retained by the Commonwealth.
The Governor of Western Australia is the representative in Western Australia of the Queen of Australia, Elizabeth II. As with the other governors of the Australian states, the Governor of Western Australia performs important constitutional, ceremonial and community functions, including:
In 1983 the Territory was declared a nature reserve under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975,now replaced by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 .
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is an Act of the Parliament of Australia that provides a framework for protection of the Australian environment, including its biodiversity and its natural and culturally significant places. Enacted on 17 July 2000, it established a range of processes to help protect and promote the recovery of threatened species and ecological communities, and preserve significant places from decline. The EPBC Act replaced the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975.
After the islands became a first point of contact with the Australian migration zone, in September 2001, the Australian government excised the Ashmore and Cartier Islands from the Australian migration zone.
Ashmore has been regularly visited and fished by Indonesian fishermen since the early eighteenth century. A 1974 Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and Indonesia sets out arrangements by which traditional fishers can access resources in Australia's territorial sea in the region. This allows traditional Indonesian fishermen to access parts of Ashmore for shelter, freshwater and to visit grave sites. The area, known as the MOU Box, contains the Ashmore and Cartier Islands Territory.
Some Indonesian groups claim Ashmore Reef to be part of Rote Ndao Regency of East Nusa Tenggara province.[ citation needed ]
Today, the Territory is administered from Canberra by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, which is also responsible for the administration of the territories of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Coral Sea Islands, Jervis Bay Territory and Norfolk Island.
The Attorney-General's Department had been responsible for the administration of Australian territories until the 2010 federal election. In that year the responsibility for Australian territories was transferred to the then Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport,and from 18 September 2013 the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has administered Australian territories.
Defence of Ashmore and Cartier Islands is the responsibility of Australia, with periodic visits by the Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Air Force and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.
Nearby Hibernia Reef, 42 km (26 mi) northeast of Ashmore Reef, is not part of the Territory, but belongs to Western Australia. It has no permanently dry land area, although large parts of the reef become exposed during low tide.
There is no economic activity in the Territory, Ashmore and Cartier Islands being uninhabited. Cartier Island is an unvegetated sand island.Access to Cartier Island is prohibited because of the risk of unexploded ordnances. There are no ports or harbours, only offshore anchorage. The customs vessel ACV Ashmore Guardian is stationed off the reef for up to 330 days per year. The islands are also visited by seasonal caretakers and occasional scientific researchers.
The area has been a traditional fishing ground of Indonesian fishermen for centuries, and continues. In the 1850s, American whalers operated in the region. Mining of phosphate deposits took place on Ashmore Island in the latter half of the 19th century.Today, all the wells in the Territory are infected with cholera or contaminated and undrinkable.
Petroleum extraction activities take place at the Jabiru and Challis oil fields, which are adjacent to the Territory, and which are administered by the Northern Territory Department of Mines and Energy on behalf of the Commonwealth.
As Ashmore Reef is the closest point of Australian territory to Indonesia, it was a popular target for people smugglers transporting asylum seekers en route to Australia.Once they had landed on Ashmore Island, asylum seekers could claim to have entered Australian migration zone and request to be processed as refugees. The use of Ashmore Island for this purpose created great notoriety during late 2001, when refugee arrivals became a major political issue in Australia. The Australian Government argued that as Australia was not the country of first asylum for these "boat people", Australia did not have a responsibility to accept them.
A number of things were done to discourage the use of the Territory for this purpose, such as attempting to have the people smugglers arrested in Indonesia; the so-called Pacific Solution of processing them in third countries; the boarding and forced turnaround of the boats by Australian military forces; and finally excising the Territory and many other small islands from the Australian migration zone.
Two boatloads of asylum seekers were each detained for several days in the lagoon at Ashmore Island after failed attempts by the Royal Australian Navy to turn them back to Indonesia in October 2001.
The Territory of Christmas Island is an Australian external territory comprising the island of the same name. Christmas Island is located in the Indian Ocean, around 350 kilometres (220 mi) south of Java and Sumatra and around 1,550 kilometres (960 mi) north-west of the closest point on the Australian mainland. It has an area of 135 square kilometres (52 sq mi).
The Coral Sea Islands Territory is an external territory of Australia which comprises a group of small and mostly uninhabited tropical islands and reefs in the Coral Sea, northeast of Queensland, Australia. The only inhabited island is Willis Island. The territory covers 780,000 km2 (301,160 sq mi), most of which is ocean, extending east and south from the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef and includes Heralds Beacon Island, Osprey Reef, the Willis Group and fifteen other reef/island groups. Cato Island is the highest point in the Territory.
Protected areas of Australia include Commonwealth and off-shore protected areas managed by the Australian government, as well as protected areas within each of the six states of Australia and two self-governing territories, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, which are managed by the eight state and territory governments.
A marine park is a park consisting of an area of sea sometimes protected for recreational use, but more often set aside to preserve a specific habitat and ensure the ecosystem is sustained for the organisms that exist there. Most marine parks are designated by governments, and organized like 'watery' national parks.
Suspected Irregular Entry Vessel (SIEV) was the operational term used by the Australian Defence Force and Australian Coastwatch for maritime vessels which appear to be attempting to reach Australia clandestinely.
The Australian migration zone is a legal device created by the Australian government for the purpose of Australia's visa policy and immigration policy. In the Australian migration zone, which covers such Australian controlled territories as the government may determine, a non-citizen must hold an Australian visa. Without such a visa, or a bridging visa, the alien is treated as an "unauthorised arrival". Prior to 2001, the Australian migration zone consisted of the mainland, and some external territories.
Cartier Island is an uninhabited and unvegetated sand cay in a platform reef in the Timor Sea north of Australia and south of Indonesia. It is within the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands, an external territory of Australia. The land area of Cartier Island is about 0.4 hectares. It is located at, on the edge of the Sahul Shelf, about 300 kilometres (190 mi) off the north west coast of Western Australia, 200 kilometres (120 mi) south of the Indonesian island of Roti, and 70 kilometres (43 mi) south-east of Ashmore Reef.
The Shire of Christmas Island is a local government area of the Australian external territory of Christmas Island. The island is grouped with Western Australia but is administered by the Attorney-General's Department and an Administrator.
The Shire of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, is a local government area which manages local affairs on the Australian external territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. The island is grouped with Western Australia but is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities and an Administrator.
The Marine Unit, formerly the Australian Customs Service National Marine Unit, is a division of the Australian Border Force which acts as a Coast Guard in guarding Australia's coast. The Marine Unit focuses on surveillance and response activities within the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ), and the operation and training of ships and crews to do so.
The geography of Australia encompasses a wide variety of biogeographic regions being the world's smallest continent but the sixth-largest country in the world. The population of Australia is concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts. The geography of the country is extremely diverse, ranging from the snow-capped mountains of the Australian Alps and Tasmania to large deserts, tropical and temperate forests.
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is the Australian Government agency responsible for the management and sustainable use of fisheries resources including combating illegal fishing activities in the Australian Fishing Zone that covers 8,148,250 square kilometres, the third largest in the world, and in most of Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastline of Australia and its external territories, except where a maritime delimitation agreement exists with a state.) AFMA is an agency of the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. The Authority does not have a legal identity separate from the Commonwealth.
Sir Joseph Banks Group Conservation Park is a protected area in the Australian state of South Australia located on the Sir Joseph Banks Group in Spencer Gulf about 25 kilometres (16 mi) east-northeast of Port Lincoln. The conservation park of which specific islands had been previously declared as Flora and Fauna Reserves under statutes in force prior to 1972, was proclaimed in 1972 under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. It was declared ‘primarily for the conservation of Cape Barren geese, and to protect marine mammal habitat’. As of 1996, the conservation park did not include Spilsby island which is privately owned and ‘lighthouse reserves’ on other islands while the following islands have been added post-declaration - Reevesby Island which was added in 1974 and Dangerous Reef which was added in 1989. The conservation park was subsequently extended to include the waters within 2 nautical miles (4 km) of the shoreline of all islands in the group and Dangerous Reef via a declaration under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 for the purpose of regulating and managing great white shark berleying activities. The conservation park is classified as an IUCN Category Ia protected area.
The MOU Box, or sometimes the MOU 74 Box, refers to a rectangular tract of marine waters in the Timor Sea, lying within Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone, that is subject to a 1974 memorandum of understanding, and subsequent agreements, between Australia and Indonesia. The MOU Box covers an area of about 50,000 km2 including Scott and Seringapatam Reefs, Browse Island, and Ashmore and Cartier Islands. Australia declared a marine protected area around Ashmore Island in 1983, and around Cartier Island in 2000.
Australian marine parks are marine protected areas located within Australian waters and are managed by the Australian government. These waters generally extend from three nautical miles off the coast to the outer limit of Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone at 200 nautical miles while marine protected areas located closer in-shore are the responsibility of the states or the Northern Territory.
The Coral Sea Marine Park is an Australian marine park located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland. The marine park covers an area of 989,836 km2 (382,178 sq mi) and is assigned IUCN category IV. It is Australia's largest single marine park and is one of the world's largest protected areas.
The Cartier Island Marine Park is an Australian marine park that covers the Cartier Island and reef surrounds, about 610 km (380 mi) north of Broome, Western Australia. The marine park covers an area of 172 km2 (66 sq mi) and is assigned IUCN category Ia. It is one of the 13 parks managed under the North-west Marine Parks Network.
The Ashmore Reef Marine Park is an Australian marine park that covers the Ashmore Reef, which is located about 630 km (390 mi) north of Broome and 110 km (68 mi) south of the Indonesian island of Rote. The marine park covers an area of 583 km2 (225 sq mi) and is assigned IUCN category Ia. It is one of 13 parks managed under the North-west Marine Parks Network.
Within the reef are three small islands: West, Middle and east Islands (total land area 54 ha). The largest and most heavily vegetated is West Island...
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