The Corporations Amendment (Publish What you Pay) Bill 2014 seeks to improve transparency and accountability of Australian extractive companies (and bring Australia into line with other jurisdictions) by introducing mandatory reporting of payments to foreign government entities in excess of $100,000. We will continue to monitor the progress of this Bill.
On 28 October 2014, the Corporations Amendment (Publish What You Pay) Bill 2014 (Bill) was introduced into Parliament. The Bill seeks to improve transparency and accountability of Australian-based extractive companies and deter corruption by requiring payments to be made public.
Under the Bill:
- Australian-based public and large proprietary extractive companies and their subsidiaries (including oil, gas, mining and native forest logging) will be required to submit a financial report detailing all ‘reportable payments’ over $100,000 made to foreign government entities, on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis;
- ‘reportable payments’ will include standard financial payments (such as royalties, dividends, bonuses, licence fees and production entitlements) as well as ‘infrastructure improvements’, ‘social payments’ and ‘security services’; and
- such reports will be published by ASIC to ensure public accessibility and accountability.
Misleading reporting will be dealt with under the rules that currently exist in relation to financial statements.
According to the Explanatory Memorandum, the Bill intends to align Australia’s legislative response to extractive industry transparency with the rest of the world, including the US, the UK and Canada.