On 28 October 2014, the Corporations Amendment (Publish What You Pay) Bill was presented to the Australian Senate by the Australian Green Party.
If passed, the proposed new law will require oil, gas and mining companies to submit a financial report detailing all payments made to overseas government entities that are over AUD100,000.
The reports (which would be published by the Australian securities regulator (ASIC)) will be required to be made on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis. Misleading reporting will be dealt with under existing rules relating to the publication of financial statements.
The push to disclose payments comes as Australian companies such as BHP Billiton and Oz Minerals face sanctions for their financial dealings with government officials in Cambodia.
The bill aligns Australia’s approach to transparency in the extractive industry with that which is being pursued in other parts of the developed world (including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada), if passed, will send a strong message that Australia does not do business with corrupt overseas regimes.