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Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Flag of Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Map of Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Introduction Ashmore and Cartier Islands
These uninhabited islands came under Australian authority in 1931; formal administration began two years later. Ashmore Reef supports a rich and diverse avian and marine habitat; in 1983, it became a National Nature Reserve. Cartier Island, a former bombing range, is now a marine reserve.
Geography Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Southeastern Asia, islands in the Indian Ocean, northwest of Australia, south of the Indonesian half of Timor island
Geographic coordinates:
12 14 S, 123 05 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
total: 5 sq km
note: includes Ashmore Reef (West, Middle, and East Islets) and Cartier Island
water: 0 sq km
land: 5 sq km
Area - comparative:
about eight times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
74.1 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM
low with sand and coral
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 3 m
Natural resources:
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (all grass and sand) (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
0 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
surrounded by shoals and reefs that can pose maritime hazards
Environment - current issues:
Geography - note:
Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve established in August 1983
People Ashmore and Cartier Islands
no indigenous inhabitants
note: Indonesian fishermen are allowed access to the lagoon and fresh water at Ashmore Reef's West Island (July 2003 est.)
People - note:
the landing of illegal immigrants from Indonesia's Rote Island has become an ongoing problem
Government Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Country name:
conventional long form: Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands
conventional short form: Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Dependency status:
territory of Australia; administered by the Australian Department of Transport and Regional Services
Legal system:
the laws of the Commonwealth of Australia and the laws of the Northern Territory of Australia, where applicable, apply
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (territory of Australia)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (territory of Australia)
Flag description:
the flag of Australia is used
Economy Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Economy - overview:
no economic activity

Transportation Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Ports and harbors:
none; offshore anchorage only
Military Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of Australia; periodic visits by the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force
Transnational Issues Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Disputes - international:
nationalist group in Indonesia reportedly seeks to populate reefs to assert claims; Australia has moved to close reefs to Indonesian traditional fishing and to create a national park while prospecting for hydrocarbons in the vicinity