Publish What You Pay Australia recently published a report titled “Abundant Resources, Absent Data – Measuring the Openness of Australian Listed Mining, Oil and Gas Companies on the African Continent.” This report is an attempt to use public data to form a picture of Australian extractive companies’ presence in Africa, in order to illustrate the data gap a mandatory disclosure law would fill in the Australian context.
Australian companies have a long history in extractives, particularly in the mining sector, both domestically and abroad. Australia’s global presence far exceeds its size and it is one of the leading extractive industry players globally, with over 700 Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) listed companies operating in more than 100 countries. Australia also enjoys a strong and positive international reputation for mining expertise and governance.
According to Jessie Cato, “Australia outnumbers the US, Canada, China and the UK for the highest concentration of companies in Africa with 312 projects in 34 countries, 105 of those in gold.” Not all of these companies are very transparent when it comes to information on their international payments. To locate some of the information needed to write this report, PWYP had to use Canadian transparency statements made by Perseus, a company listed at both the Canadian and Australian stock exchange.
Seeing as combating bribery starts with tax and government payment transparency, she is calling on Australia to enforce Canada’s Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act and require companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange to report their payments to government, both domestically and abroad. This would enable citizens and governments to ensure that they are receiving a fair deal for the extraction of the natural resources and would align Australia with the global reporting standard set by the 30 countries which have already implemented it.