Bilateral relationship at a glance
Australia enjoys a warm and longstanding relationship with Brunei Darussalam, focused on defence and security cooperation, economic partnerships and education links.
Our strong defence relationship is built on mutual respect and trust, dating back to Australia's participation in the Liberation of Borneo in 1945. Since the signing of our first Defence Memorandum of Understanding in 1985, Australia and Brunei have undertaken numerous bilateral military exercises, policy dialogues, training and capacity building exchanges. With Resident Defence Advisors now stationed in both countries, defence cooperation is intensifying – particularly in defence education, information exchanges and joint exercises.
Like Australia, Brunei Darussalam is committed to open, rules-based markets, including through participation in key regional trade agreements. Both countries are members of the CPTPP, AANZFTA, RCEP, IPEF, APEC and the WTO.
In 2022, Australia was Brunei’s largest export market — with Bruneian exports of oil and gas, fertiliser and seafood totalling approximately B$4 billion. In the same year, Australia exported almost B$600m worth of goods and services to Brunei, including agricultural products and education services. As both Australia and Brunei diversify their economies away from hydrocarbon exports, both countries are working together to seize opportunities associated with the global clean economy transition.
Australia is a popular study destination with over 12,000 Bruneians educated in Australia. Young Australians are also engaging with Brunei through the New Colombo Plan (which supports Australians to study in Brunei) and the Australia-ASEAN Muslim Exchange Program (which builds links between young Muslim leaders in Brunei and their peers among Australia's 600,000-strong Muslim community). In recent years, Australia and Brunei have increased cooperation on public health issues, particularly mental health.
Australia and Brunei cooperate closely on ASEAN-led forums and initiatives, with both countries deeply committed to regional architecture with ASEAN at its core. Both countries also cooperate closely on maritime security and share an interest in ensuring that the South China Sea is governed according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.