The EITI reiterates its call for Australia to implement the EITI Standard, a global benchmark for transparency and accountability in the extractive sector. Speaking at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) this week, EITI Executive Mark Robinson emphasised that Australia has a unique opportunity to lead in promoting extractives transparency and accountability in the region and globally.
"By committing to join the EITI, Australia would be stepping up to play a leading role alongside other like-minded governments, industry and civil society as part of a global movement to advance greater transparency and accountability in the sector,” said Robinson. “Australia has a golden opportunity to be not only a global mining superpower, but also a leader on ESG performance.”
EITI implementation can support Australia in delivering its critical minerals strategy, which places a strong emphasis on environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. Given the surging demand for minerals to fuel the global energy transition, EITI membership could mitigate governance risks in the sector and solidify Australia's position as global leader on responsible extractive sector management.
While Australia’s extractive sector is generally well-governed, recent corruption convictions highlight the need for increasing transparency. The 2023 EITI Standard introduces provisions that can level the playing field for Australian companies, requiring public disclosure of information about license transfers and deviations from legal processes. It also encourages transparency in fast-tracked approval of mining projects, which can reduce corruption risks in the face of growing demand.
The case for joining the EITI enjoys strong support from Australian companies, trade unions and anti-corruption advocates. Leading Australian mining firms, including BHP, Newmont, Rio Tinto and Woodside Energy, already support the EITI at the global level, with some holding positions on the international EITI Board.
By committing to join the EITI, Australia would be stepping up to play a leading role alongside other like-minded governments, industry and civil society as part of a global movement to advance greater transparency and accountability in the sector
As a supporting country, Australia has funded the EITI since 2011. While the government initiated an EITI pilot programme in 2011 and announced plans to become an EITI implementing country in 2016, it has yet to implement the EITI Standard at the national level.
Implementing the EITI in Australia would create a unique domestic forum for discussing the sector's future, facilitating multi-stakeholder oversight and dialogue among government, industry and civil society on sector management. It could also offer a platform to engage with Indigenous communities affected by mining operations; EITI implementing countries are expected to disclose information on free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and community consultations, where this is mandated.
In addition to aligning with the government's goals of promoting dialogue on the energy transition, enhancing tax transparency and combatting corruption, EITI implementation can also support Australia’s digital transformation efforts, making extractive sector information accessible through open data and data portals.
Australia has a unique opportunity to strengthen its global leadership in the extractive sector by committing to EITI implementation. Doing so could position it as a leader both in the Indo-Pacific region and on the world stage, establishing Australia as a destination of choice for responsible extractive industry investment and setting an example for responsible resource management worldwide.