Launch of new report by PWYP Australia: Abundant Resources, Absent Data

Launch of new report by PWYP Australia ‘Abundant Resources, Absent Data: Measuring the Openness of Australian Mining, Oil and Gas Companies on the African Continent’

PWYP Australia is launching it’s new report ‘Abundant Resources, Absent Data: Measuring the Openness of Australian Listed Mining, Oil and Gas Companies on the African Continent.

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 we are 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.

However, our leadership and reputation deteriorates when it comes to transparency and accountability standards for the sector. Australian extractive companies and politically exposed persons have faced numerous allegations and charges of corruption in Australia and overseas. While the Australian Government has financially supported the global implementation of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) since 2007, this is still in the process of being implemented domestically and country by country reporting has only been in effect since 2016. Australia has no legal requirements that require project level reporting. Research organisations, international civil society and the Australian Government have all acknowledged Australia has a data problem, noting our data are highly aggregated, spread across numerous sources, locked in PDF or often just not obtainable. It is both a quality, and quantity issue.

PWYP Australia is active in numerous domestic initiatives such as the Australian EITI and Open Government Partnership (OGP) that attempt to address the data and transparency challenges Australia faces. We campaign for open data to increase the accountability of Australian extractive companies, and demonstrate how a mandatory disclosure reporting requirement in line with EU and Canadian could remedy the opacity of Australian data and Australian companies operations.

Abundant resources, Absent Data: Measuring the Openness of Australian Listed Mining, Oil and Gas Companies on the African Continent’ analyses publicly available data in an attempt to draw a comprehensive picture of our extractive presence – by company, country and project. ASX listed companies are most present by region on the African continent, with 139 ASX listed companies being present in 34 countries. This report shows stakeholders a regional snapshot of what a mandatory disclosure law would cover in the Australian context and how this would enable citizens and governments to ensure that they are receiving a fair deal for the extraction of the natural resources. It demonstrates how Australian policy can support the sustainable development of natural resources in the countries we operate in.  The introduction of a mandatory disclosure law would also align Australia with the global reporting standard set by the 30 countries who have already implemented it.

Abundant resources, Absent Data’ adds evidence to the ongoing conversation that deeper and more systematic data collection on company payments to governments is urgently required in Australia. We cannot continue to lead in the opacity that other countries are increasingly rejecting. Our leadership should cover the entire extractive chain, and that means payments to government reporting, to the project level, with no exemptions.

PWYP Australia is proud to release this report through the PWYP Data Extractors programme. This report demonstrates how important open data is to increasing transparency in the extractives sector, building evidence based policy, and ensuring citizens and governments around the world are benefiting from the extraction of their natural resources.

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