Australian mining companies would have to report payments to foreign governments under proposed new laws.
Greens leader Christine Milne introduced the private senator’s bill on Tuesday, which would force mining companies to publicly disclose payments over $100,000 to any foreign government.
They want to increase transparency of activities carried out by Australian mining companies overseas and stamp out corruption.
“A number of Australian companies have been the subject of concerning allegations in relation to corruption, bribery, human rights abuses and environmental degradation,” Senator Milne said.
There are already moves within the industry to improve transparency, with countries signing on to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative which requires governments to disclose payments from mining companies.
Several African countries already comply with the standards and Australia is undertaking a pilot of the initiative.
However, a recent Publish What You Pay study says participation doesn’t necessarily mean improved reporting by companies.
The Greens have written to Labor leader Bill Shorten to outline the policy, which has the backing of charity group Oxfam.
This type of legislation is not unprecedented – the European Union requires EU-listed and large unlisted companies to disclose payments to governments for oil, gas and mining projects.
The United States and Canada have similar legislation.