The Publish What you Pay coalition (PWYP) has urged Australia to show it is serious about revenue and tax transparency in the extractives sector and follow the example of several G20 countries, including Indonesia, the US, the UK, France, Germany and Italy, who are already implementing or have committed to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
The call from the PWYP comes on the eve of the Board of the EITI meeting (14–15 Oct) in Myanmar and the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group meeting (16–18 Oct) in Paris, which will be focusing on the issue of extractive transparency in the sector.
Centre for Australian Ethical Research Senior Analyst Julia Leske said the EITI required governments to publish what they received in payments from mining and oil and gas companies and for companies to publish what they paid governments. This process is overseen by a multi-stakeholder group comprising equal representation of government, industry and civil society.
“The Australian Government has just completed a successful three-year pilot of the EITI, but has not indicated whether or not it’s going to implement the initiative in Australia,” Ms Leske said.
“Full implementation would help Australians better understand exactly how we benefit from the extraction of our finite natural resources.”
Oxfam Australia’s Extractive Industries Policy Advisor Serena Lillywhite pointed out that more than 60% of the world’s poorest people lived in resource rich countries, but secrecy and corruption often resulted in income from natural resource extraction going missing and not benefitting communities.
“Australia is a significant donor to the EITI and has encouraged countries, including Myanmar and Papua New Guinea, to undertake the initiative,” Ms Lillywhite said.
“In seeking candidacy to implement the EITI, Australia would not only send a strong signal to other governments that it is serious about transparency and accountability in the extractive industries, but it would also be better placed to assist with implementation by our neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Transparency International Australia‘s Executive Director Greg Thompson said transparency in the extractive industries was becoming the „new norm”, and many Australian oil, gas and mining companies supported EITI implementation in Australia and internationally.
Continued support for the EITI is expected to feature in the next Anti-Corruption Action Plan which will be unveiled at the Brisbane G20 Summit.
”As G20 President, Australia should lead by example and demonstrate to the world its commitment to transparency in the mining sector by announcing its intention to fully implement the initiative,” Mr Thompson said.