Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, and Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, announced at the CHOGM 2011 Australia-Africa Foreign Ministers' Mining Breakfast today that Australia will further support, at home and abroad, global efforts to improve governance and financial transparency in the resources sector.
"Australia is already a world leader in governance of the resources sector," Mr Ferguson said.
"To further enhance the transparency of our sector, the Australian Government, in consultation with state governments, industry and non-government organisations, will undertake a pilot of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)."
Launched in 2002, EITI has been implemented in 11 countries. It promotes and supports improved governance in resource-rich countries through the full publication and verification of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas, and mining.
Under the EITI pilot, Australia will assess the transparency of its financial reporting arrangements for the resources sector against EITI principles, considered a global benchmark for natural resource revenue management.
"Given Australia's very significant mining sector, we hope this decision will encourage other countries to adopt EITI," Mr Rudd said.
"Transparency and accountability are key for developing countries to reap the full benefits of their resource sector. Well regulated, the sector can not only provide economic growth but also broader development benefits by funding basic services like health and education.
"Australia will also provide $12.7 million to support the international advocacy of EITI, including supporting developing countries with the technical challenges of implementation."
Commencing on 1 July 2012, the $500, 000 EITI pilot will be funded by the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism and will be overseen by a steering committee of federal and state government representatives, industry and non-government organisations.
Mr Ferguson also announced the launch of a new handbook on Social Responsibility for the Mining and Metals Sector in Developing countries.
"The handbook is a guide for best practice in social responsibility for resource companies operating in developing countries, to ensure communities receive long-term benefits from mining," Mr Ferguson said.
- Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555