The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Australia

Wednesday, 4 June 2014
Rhonda Jacobsen

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global initiative directed to achieving transparency in how a country’s natural resources, oil, gas and minerals are governed including transparency in how the taxes and other revenue streams are raised from extraction of these natural resources.

The purpose of such transparency is to enable the citizens of the countries to be informed as to how much the government is receiving from the extractive industries, which can lead to improved/equitable distribution of the wealth the governments raise from this revenue stream.

The EITI has established a standard comprising 12 principles, and in order for a country to be recognised by the international EITI board, must apply for recognition and demonstrate a transparency regime that meets the EITI standard.

Since its launch in 2002, 35 countries have produced EITI reports. In July 2012, the Australian Government initiated a pilot program to investigate and report on how the EITI could operate in Australia. The members of the pilot program are known as the Multi Stakeholder Group (MSG) and include government, industry and civil society representatives.

The National Native Title Council (NNTC) is one of the civil society participants, originally represented by the NNTC CEO and since mid 2013 by Rhonda Jacobsen, the Senior Legal Officer and manager of the Future Act Mining and Exploration (FAME) Unit of the North Queensland Land Council (NQLC). One aspect of the pilot under consideration is payments from the industry to Australia’s First Peoples. At the date of submitting this abstract, the pilot is still under investigation and the report still to be finalised and submitted to government.

This session will give an overview of the background of the EITI; specific considerations addressed in the Australian pilot, including payments to Australia’s First Peoples; and a summary of where the report is at the time of the conference.