Australia has announced that it will join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the international standard for increased transparency and accountability in the oil, gas and mining sectors.
In a joint statement, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg said:
"By joining the EITI, we ensure that our domestic policy is consistent with international efforts to increase transparency, including in tax systems. This will provide significant benefits for Australian companies through improved global investment conditions resulting from consistent and open reporting standards for the world’s resources sector.
It will also allow Australia to demonstrate leadership in transparency and anti-corruption matters and strengthen its credibility in advocating the adoption of the EITI by other countries."
The Chair of the EITI International Board, Fredrik Reinfeldt, who recently visited Canberra, welcomed the commitment:
"It is hugely welcome that Australia has decided to implement the EITI. Australia, with its very large mining and gas sectors, has often led the way in developing institutions and collaborative practices to ensure that the oil, gas and mining sectors promote greater national prosperity. Implementing the EITI will contribute to an improved national debate about taxation and revenue sharing in a federal system."
“While the oil, gas and mining sectors are under enormous pressure due to lower commodity prices, the calls for greater transparency continue to grow. The EITI provides a flexible framework for addressing these challenges, bringing together government, industry and civil society organisations to encourage an informed debate about the governance of these industries”.
“The Australian Government has been one of the strongest supporters of the EITI since its inception. This commitment further demonstrates Australia’s leadership in this arena, and will help encourage other resource rich countries to make the same commitment to transparency and good governance”.
Ian Wood, a member of the EITI International Board representing BHP Billiton, said:
"We welcome the commitment from the Australian Government to join the EITI and the role it’s playing in leading and advocating for transparency in the resources sector globally. Governments, civil society and the corporate sector must work in partnership to support transparency. BHP Billiton has a strong commitment to demonstrating the highest standards of corporate governance and transparency, we were a founding supporter of the EITI in 2002 and an early adopter of best practice in disclosure and transparency. We are committed to being a leader in further enhancing disclosure and transparency and we believe transparency is in the best interest of our shareholders, employees, contractors, partners, customers and the communities and societies in which we operate”.
Wendy Tyrrell, a member of the EITI International Board representing Transparency International Australia said:
"Transparency International Australia welcomes the Australian government’s commitment to fully implement the EITI. Transparency International Australia views implementing EITI as a logical next step following the successful EITI pilot completed in 2014, cementing Australia’s position among leading countries participating in this innovative global transparency initiative to strengthen extractive sector transparency and accountability”.