Labor’s policy announced today that would require large Australian oil, gas and mining companies to reveal tax and other payments made to government authorities in the countries in which they operate has the potential to reduce poverty, and the Federal Government should match it, according to Oxfam Australia.
The policy would require relevant companies to disclose taxes and other payments paid to governments on a country by country and project by project basis, both here in Australia and overseas.
Oxfam Australia’s Mining and Extractives Policy Advisor Mal Larsen welcomed the policy and called on the Federal Government to follow suit.
“This policy could help lift people out of poverty,” Mr Larsen said. “Australia would join the growing list of countries around the world that require large companies to reveal how much tax is being paid, in which country and for which mine.
“This sort of disclosure will allow the public to hold companies accountable for how much tax they pay, and governments for how they spend it. The policy builds on past commitments from Labor on tax transparency, and would ensure that major mining companies report tax information on a project by project basis.
“This will help us eliminate the resource curse that has destined many countries that are rich in natural resources, to be amongst the world’s poorest.
“Disclosure of tax payments is an emerging international standard. It is key to driving out corruption, and building community faith that mining taxes are being spent on essential services like health and education.”
Mr Larsen said Australia was one of the biggest mining economies in the world, with more than 100 Australian companies mining in Africa alone. Whilst mining could bring benefits to communities, too often, local communities did not get a share in the economic benefits of mining.
Oxfam’s work has shone a spotlight on the sometimes traumatic impacts of mining projects – from PNG to Mozambique.
Publication of taxes paid will also allow for greater scrutiny on corporate tax arrangements. In 2016, Oxfam revealed that Australian based multinationals ripped $2.3 billion from 33 developing countries through unethical tax avoidance schemes.
“This policy will also bring Australia into line with standards already adopted by the European Union and Canada,” Mr Larsen said.
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