News: Australian Government commits to implementation of the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI)

Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Australia welcomes the announcement by the Australian Government to implement the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).

“This announcement sees Australia take a positive and long overdue step to addressing transparency in the extractives sector” said PWYP National Coordinator, Jessie Cato. “PWYP Australia believes disclosure of payments made to governments is a central part of ensuring an environment of openness that benefits Australian communities.”

As we head into a Federal election, PWYP Australia calls for bipartisan support for both the EITI and mandatory disclosure to bring Australia in line with other jurisdictions such as the EU, US and Canada.

To date there has been no Australian legislation or policy that addresses the opaqueness of payments by oil, gas and mining companies to government. By not endorsing voluntary or mandatory disclosure, Australia has been continually out of step with the global trends on tax transparency.

The EITI is a voluntary mechanism of reporting in which extractives industry companies report their payments domestically. Australia undertook a pilot of the EITI in 2011, which was overseen by a Multi Stakeholder Group (MSG) of Government, Industry and Civil Society representatives. The MSG released its findings in May 2015 and concluded that Australia’s implementation of the EITI should progress.

“The EITI announcement is an important step in Australia’s process of establishing more transparent reporting mechanisms, and will complement the recently announced establishment of a beneficial ownership registry.” Ms Cato said. “However, as a voluntary domestic scheme, it can only reveal so much. True transparency will only be achieved with the introduction of a mandatory disclosure regime that accounts for companies’ payments to governments here and abroad is in place for the extractives sector”

PWYP Australia looks forward to working with the Australian Government as they progress through the steps of EITI candidature and reaffirms its calls on the Australian Government to include the introduction of mandatory disclosure legislation as a priority in the tax reform agenda.

PWYP Australia Media Release – 6 May 2016

For further information contact: Jessie Cato – Publish What You Pay Australia National Coordinator on +61 (0) 499 479 293.

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