Australia is not only rich in natural resources but an important player in the global extractives market.
On a global level, Australia tops the league in reserves of - among others - recoverable brown coal, nickel, tantalum and uranium and ranks second for bauxite, copper, gold, ilmenite and silver. It is the world’s largest exporter of alumina, black coal, iron ore, lead and zinc and a major exporter of liquefied natural gas. From 2006 – 2007 the mining and petroleum industries produced over 8% of the country’s GDP and made up 63% of its merchandise export earnings.
Australian Securities Exchange lists 1,041 extractive companies , representing 5% of global market value. Major Australian extractive companies include Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.
Sources: Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Revenue Watch Institute
PWYP Australia was launched in June 2011. The coalition is made up of a wide range of organisations – human rights, aid, faith-based, anti-corruption and environmental among others – that all see revenue transparency as central to their objectives.
PWYP Australia has two key areas of focus. Firstly, the coalition is campaigning for the country to fully implement the EITI following a pilot which commenced on 1 July 2012. Several members of PWYP Australia represent civil society on the pilot’s multi-stakeholder group. Australian implementation of the EITI would improve trust and accountability in the country’s mining and oil and gas sectors and would also help secure the EITI as the global standard for transparency in the extractive industries
The coalition is also advocating for the Australian Government to introduce legislation that would oblige companies listed or based in Australia to publish what they pay governments in the countries in which they operate, in line with similar legislation being introduced in the United States and European Union. Following the announcement from Canada that it is to introduce similar laws Australia is now the last major developed country market not to commit to transparency rules.
Support the campaign by sending a message to the Australian Government to say that you would like to see transparency rules introduced in Australia.
PWYP Australia is funded by Oxfam America, the Revenue Watch Institute and Australian organisation the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). For more details on Australia’s income and expenditure, please visit their financial transparency page.
24 June 2014 – As part of PWYP’s World Cup blog series, Claire Spoors has blogged on how the Aussies can go from zeros to heroes in the area of extractive industry transparency.
13 June 2014 – The Lowy Institute has published a blog by PWYP Australia Coordinator, Claire Spoors on women, decision-making and the extractive industries.
22 May 2014 – The Lowy Institute has published an essay by Claire Spoors and Serena Lillywhite in its G20 Monitor publication on how better tax compliance and transparency will help to address poverty and inequality globally. Subsequently, he Sustainability Report has written an article about the issues raised.
26 March 2014 – Claire Spoors is quoted in an article by the ICIJ calling on Australia to practice what it preaches in relation to extractive industry transparency.
3 March 2014 – Senator Lee Rhiannon has given an adjournment speech highlighting the work of PWYP in the Australian Senate.
28 February 2014 – Claire Spoors presented the policy position of the Civil 20 on extractives and natural resources to the G20’s Anti-Corruption Working Group at a roundtable in Sydney. The position calls for the G20 to prioritise progress towards developing a global mandatory extractive industry transparency standard.
21 January 2014 – Claire Spoors is interviewed by Jemima Garret on ABC radio about PWYP’s campaign urging the Australian mining industry to get behind the global movement for increased transparency.
14 November 2013 – PWYP Australia made a submission to the Australian Securities Exchange in response to its Review of the Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations calling for for the introduction of rules that require extractive companies listed in Australia to disclose all payments made to governments on a country-by-country and project-by project basis.
20 September 2013 – Claire Spoors is quoted in an article by the Sustainability Report on how PWYP Australia will make its case to the new federal government for the adoption of mandatory disclosure standards for companies in the extractive industries.
28-30 August 2013 – PWYP and Oxfam Australia attended the Africa Down Under conference in Perth where we had a joint stall. Check out Serena Lillywhite’s blog about the conference and interview with ABC Radio on balancing mining and subsistence farming in Africa.
24 July 2013 – The Australian Government has released a scoping paper examining the taxation of multi-national companies following a consultation which PWYP Australia and members made submissions to in April and May. The report discusses the need for more transparency and exchange of data, including in developing countries, and references country-by-country and project-by-project disclosure in the extractives sector.
6, 10 & 12 July 2013 – PWYP Australia Coordinator Claire Spoors is quoted in a feature article on mining and tax avoidance in Australia’s Fairfax papers and another article in the Australian Financial Review on the issue of facilitation payments, while Michael Ahrens from PWYP member organisation, Transparency International was also interviewed on the issue.
29 June 2013 – The Australian Parliament has passed legislation which will require the Tax Commissioner to publish information about the tax affairs of large corporate taxpayers and enable the publication of periodic aggregate tax collection information including payments made under the Minerals Resource Rent Tax and the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax.
21 June 2013 – Check out Oxfam Australia’s Design for Change blog on the talented and generous volunteers that recently worked on social media and designed a new website for PWYP Australia.
14 June 2013 – The Sustainability Report published an article on PWYP Australia’s renewed call on the Australian Government to adopt mandatory payment disclosure requirements for companies in the extractive industries.
6 June 2013 – PWYP Australia Coordinator Claire Spoors blogged about her recent lobby trip to Canberra with colleagues from the US, EU and Canadian coalitions following the EITI conference.
31 May 2013 – PWYP Australia and other PWYP members made submissions to the Australian Government, in response to a consultation on the Taxation of Multinational Enterprises, calling for the introduction of rules that require extractive companies listed or based in Australia to disclose all payments made to governments on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis in line with United States and European Union legislation. You can read PWYP Australia’s submission here. In April, PWYP Australia made a similar submission which you can also read here.
22-24 May 2013 – The PWYP campaign got some good media coverage in Australia during the EITI conference, including for our side event on the emergence of a global extractives reporting standard. You can listen to interviews following the event here. Also watch this piece that was on the ABC news and listen to this radio interview with Oxfam Australia’s Serena Lillywhite.
22 May 2013 – PWYP Australia issued a press release on the eve of the EITI Global Conference taking place in Sydney: New reporting rules for mining companies will cut corruption.
20 May 2013 – PWYP Australia and member organisation, CAER launched their new briefing: Australia: an unlevel playing field at Citigroup’s Sydney headquarters. The briefing analyses the current level of disclosure by extractive companies listed on the ASX 200 and reviews the survey responses of investors on the introduction of country-by-country and project-by-project reporting requirements for Australian listed companies.
15 May 2013 – PWYP Australia’s campaign website went live! Supporters can download the campaign’s new booklet from the site and sign an e-letter calling on the Australian Government to introduce transparency laws to help prevent corruption and ensure that the payments Australian mining companies pay to governments around the world benefit the citizens of those countries.
26 April 2013 – The Sustainability Report published an article on PWYP Australia’s upcoming briefing on ASX 200-listed extractive companies and their reporting standards regarding payments made to governments in the countries where they operate.
10 April 2013 – PWYP Australia’s Claire Spoors has blogged about a recent lobby trip to Canberra she went on with Burmese activists organised by coalition member, the Burma Campaign Australia. The purpose of the trip, amongst other things, was to tell parliamentarians about the need for transparency of payments by extractive companies to the Burmese Government.
8 February 2013 – The Australian Government has announced that it’s considering measures to force large multinational corporations operating in Australia to publicly reveal how much tax they pay. See PWYP Australia’s release and 3 things’ blog on the announcement and listen to Mark Zirnsak, from the Tax Justice Network, explaining on SBS radio how these measures would encourage corporations to pay their fair share of tax.
17 January 2013 – In this article, Serena Lillywhite, Oxfam Australia’s Mining Advocacy Lead, explains how transparency of payments made by Australian mining companies to Governments where they operate could help ensure that local communities benefit from their natural resource wealth.
10 December 2012 – The Australian Government has announced that it is setting up a specialist reference group to look at the taxation of multinational enterprises in Australia. The group will include PWYP members, Oxfam Australia and the Uniting Church. Read about it here and Oxfam’s media release on the announcement here.
6 December 2012 – This investigative report by PWYP member Jubilee Australia highlights circumstances, events and impacts associated with Exxon Mobil’s US $19 billion Gas Project in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands.
18 September 2012 – PWYP Australia Coordinator Claire Spoors gave this speech at PWYP’s Ten Year Anniversary Conference in Amsterdam on the first year of the Australian campaign.
24 August 2012 – PWYP Australia published a press release following the SEC’s release of the rules governing Section 1504 of Dodd-Frank in the US, Australia should follow US in fighting corruption.
07 August 2012 – Following Australia’s silver successes, Liz Barrett has written about the Anvil Silver Mine in DRC. Liz Barrett is Co-Director of AID/WATCH, a member organisation of PWYP Australia. Read it here.
06 August 2012 – Following Australia’s plethora of bronzes, PWYP Australia’s Claire Spoors has blogged on BHP Billiton’s copper exploitation at its Olympic dam mine in South Australia. Read it here.
03 August 2012 – PWYP International’s Joseph Williams has blogged about Anglo-Australian company Rio Tinto, and their foray into transparency. Read it here.
30 July 2012 – Following Australia’s first gold medal of the games, PWYP Australia member Peter Colley gives an overview of gold mining company and supplier of the games Rio Tinto. Peter Colley is National Research Director of the Mining and Energy division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union and member of PWYP Australia. Read it here.
27 July 2012 – PWYP International has launched the PWYP Olympic blog series. Over the next couple of weeks, when a country that is rich in gold, silver or copper wins the equivalent medal (we’re cheating a bit and using copper to represent bronze) we’ll post a blog on the mining of that resource.
2 April 2012 – The ASX has published its consultation feedback on enhancing the requirements for listed mining, oil and gas companies. The ASX acknowledges that it received 18 submissions advocating for the disclosure of payments made to governments and that it was identified that such information would help investors assess the financial, political and reputational risks faced by particular companies. However, the ASX concluded that it was a matter for Government and announced that it would pass all relevant submissions to the Treasury for its consideration.
7 March 2012 – The Sustainability Report published an article about PWYP Australia’s submission to the ASX open consultation on listing rules for the mining and extractives industry. PWYP Australia suggested the ASX could adopt the financial elements from the Canadian legislation, bring it into line with the EU and US, and publish annually what our companies pay.
27 January 2012 – PWYP Australia, along with other PWYP members, sent submissions to the Australian Securities Exchange calling for stronger reporting measures for extractive companies.
16 December 2011- Oxfam Australia and Publish What You Pay Australia have released a joint report, The Australian Securities Exchange: extractive industry companies and payment disclosure. The briefing gives an overview of payment disclosure listing rules for mining, oil and gas companies and how the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative complements such rules. It also makes recommendations to the ASX, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and the Australian Government, that rules requiring payment disclosure from extractive industry companies on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis be introduced in Australia.
02 November 2011 – PWYP member Oxfam Australia released a report on the PNG LNG Project. The report examines how best to support community and civil society organisation in ensuring benefits from this project are enjoyed by all Papua New Guineans.
27 October 2011 – the Australia government announced that it would initiate a pilot of the EITI (go here for more information). In an article for Business Day , executive director of Oxfam Australia Andrew Hewett stated that implementing EITI would “allow Australians to access information on the value of our natural resources. The more those affected by mining, such as indigenous communities, know about payments made to governments, the greater the likelihood they can negotiate equitable benefit-sharing agreements.” Read the article in full here.
29 August 2011 – PWYP Australia released their first press release calling on the Australian government to sign up to EITI, you can view it here or in its PDF format. Two members of PWYP Australia were also interviewed on the subject by Australian radio station The Wire.
01 August 2011 – PWYP member Oxfam Australia released a report on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The report highlights the crucial role Australia can have in making transparency and accountability a global norm by committing to implement the EITI.
10 June 2011 – A wide range of civil society organisations gathered in Melbourne for a PWYP information and strategy development workshop. Hosted by long time PWYP member Oxfam Australia, sessions included an introduction to PWYP, examination of national coalition case studies and a strategy brainstorm for the future of the campaign in Australia.