Jubilee Australia | Digging to the roots of poverty
Jubilee Australia's Resource Centre

What We Do

We research the impacts of Australian government and corporate behaviour overseas, lobby key actors to bring about policy change, and inspire Australians to get involved.


Papua New Guinea. Photo credit: Antony Loewenstein.

EXPORT CREDIT CAMPAIGN  #Risky Business


(animation produced by the Potatomation Art Collective for the Sydney Fringe Festival, September 2013 - inspired by Jubilee Australia's 'Pipe Dreams' report)

#RiskyBusiness is an initiative of Jubilee Australia to shine a spotlight on Australia’s export credit agency (EFIC), and increase its accountability to Australian taxpayers and to local communities overseas.

HOW?

By tracking the trade deals financed by EFIC, and investigating their impacts on local communities overseas.

By advocating for more rigorous accountability standards to ensure Australian taxpayer funds are not invested in projects that violate communities’ human rights, undermine their sovereignty, or cause irreversible environmental harm.

WHY?

EFIC exists to stimulate trade, making it cheaper and less risky for Australian businesses to export or invest overseas, most often to markets in developing countries.

All ‘industrialised’ countries have export credit agencies (ECAs). But compared with official development financiers such as the World Bank, ECAs operate with limited transparency, under the political radar and out of public view with weak social and environmental obligations. As a result, although export credit trade can boost economies, the people and environment of developing nations often pay a heavy price.

Like other ECAs, EFIC operates in an environment of very limited transparency. Legislative and policy provisions governing the release of information by EFIC include a presumption against public disclosure.

Over the last decade, one-quarter of finance and insurance provided by Australia's export credit agency has been to support Australian involvement in large-scale resource extraction projects, which can pose a range of threats to environments and communities in developing countries. These risks are compounded when extraction occurs in conflict or post-conflict areas, or in countries where political and legal structures are not in place to mitigate environmental and social damage.

 

PNG LNG Project

In its biggest ever loan, the Australian Trade Minister agreed in December 2009 that EFIC would provide up to $500 million to the Exxon Mobil-led PNG Liquefied Natural Gas project, including $400 million of taxpayer money.

This contract was signed by the Trade Minister behind closed doors, with no parliamentary or public scrutiny. Details about the negotiations between the world’s most profitable company, ExxonMobil and the Australian Government are protected by EFIC’s exemption from Freedom of Information, as are any documents justifying the decision to invest taxpayer money into the Project.

Just one year after the signing of the largest project deal ever signed in the Pacific region, the PNG LNG project had already been linked with a number of worrying incidents, including tribal conflict, local landowner unrest, alleged abuses by the companies involved, and concerns over transparency of government decisions.

After more than 18-months of research, Jubilee Australia published its report into the Project, and its foreseeable impacts on the country’s already precarious political institutions, economy and society.