Australia must stamp out corruption by following the US and EU’s lead and forcing oil, mining and gas companies based here and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange to report all payments to governments in the countries in which they operate.
The call from the Publish What you Pay coalition comes as hundreds of government officials, mining companies and NGOs meet in Sydney for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Global Conference tomorrow and Friday (23 and 24 May).
Publish What You Pay Australia coordinator Claire Spoors said the world was moving on the issue of making mining payments to governments more transparent, and that as one of the world’s mining giants, Australia needed to adopt new reporting rules.
“This week, all eyes are on Australia to see if we follow the rest of the world in introducing new rules that aim to stamp out corruption and help people in poverty,” Ms Spoors said.
“More than 60 per cent of the world’s poorest people live in countries rich in natural resources, but they rarely share in the wealth.”
Following the ‘historic’ Dodd Frank legislation and recently agreed EU rules, companies will be required to disclose payments such as taxes, royalties, fees and bonuses to governments where they operate at a project level.
This means local communities can find out how much their government will receive in return for the extraction of their finite natural resources.
Ms Spoors said secrecy and corruption often resulted in the income from natural resource extraction going missing and not benefitting communities, often stopping them from getting access to basic services like clean water and health care.
“The starting point for tackling corruption, fraud and poor governance in the natural resource sector is transparency,” she said.
According to Ms Spoors, more countries are taking action on this issue, with UK Prime Minister David Cameron just last week calling on other countries to bring in payment disclosure legislation, and delegates at this week’s Mining for Development conference signalling transparency requirements were vital to ensure citizens in countries like Mozambique fully benefitted from the minerals buried beneath their feet.
For more information please contact Laurelle Keough at Oxfam Australia on 0425 701 801
Notes to editors:
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative is a voluntary mechanism which requires signatory countries to disclose revenues received from companies and for companies to disclose the payments they make. Publish What You Pay Australia is calling on the Australian Government to introduce mandatory reporting requirements as a complementary measure to the EITI.
Publish What you Pay will be holding two panel events on ‘The emergence of a global extractives reporting standard’ in Room G05 at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour from 9.30am on Wednesday 22 May. Panellists include representatives from the UK and US governments, industry and the investor community, as well as civil society.