Past Development Projects
Sydney Law School has been involved for many years in research and teaching related to law and development. Funding from programs such as AusAID’s Australian Leadership Award Fellowships (ALAF) over recent years has allowed Sydney Law School to increase the delivery of training and capacity building programs to visitors who can achieve change in their own countries. This page provides a summary of past projects.
Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI): Developing the New Tax System (ALAF Round 10 | Professor Lee Burns)
Project dates: 15 May - 12 June 2012.
The Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) is facing serious fiscal challenges with declining external grants, increased debt servicing, and potential loss of trade taxes. A recent report of the Pacific Islands Forum estimates that there could be a loss of 25 per cent of total tax revenue in RMI as a result of the impact of trade agreements.
In addition to these fiscal challenges, the tax system is under pressure due to a number of serious weaknesses, including its inequities, inconsistency with international best practices, and limited administrative capacity. The adverse impact of these challenges on economic growth is obvious. The RMI authorities established the Tax and Revenue Reform and Modernization Commission (TRRMC) to review the tax system. The Government has accepted many of the recommendations of the TRRMC and has commenced a tax reform agenda to improve economic growth in RMI. The Fellowship aimed to support these reforms.
Balancing climate change laws and policies with the needs of forest communities in Indonesia (ALAF | Professor Rosemary Lyster)
Professor Rosemary Lyster together with Dr Tim Stephens and Dr Simon Butt brought 4 Fellows from Indonesia to attend the Human Rights Advocacy Course run by Ms Irene Baghoomians; spend time as interns at the Environmental Defenders’ Office and at the Land and Environment Court; and undertake further research skills training in the Law School. The program welcomed back to the Law School one of our PhD graduates, Dr Laode Syarif, who is now Chief of Cluster for Security and Justice at the NGO Kemitraan – The Partnership for Governance Reform. Dr Laode’s work includes corruption eradication and environmental law enforcement, he was supervised by Emeritus Professor Ben Boer.
Legislative Drafting Capacity Building in East Africa (ALAF)
Project dates: 18 July - 26 August 2011
The program ddressed the shortage in legal drafting skills in Rwanda and Uganda. This is a major constraint in many African countries on the implementation of development policies. The implementation of clear and effective rule-based regulatory systems is essential in achieving development goals in key priority areas for the ALA Fellowships, such as food security, health, human rights, natural resource extraction, gender equality, and trade and financial systems.
The program will provided a clear understanding of the development and implementation of legislative drafting through short term training, a research project on an issue relevant to the Fellow’s country and a professional attachment with Parliamentary Counsel Offices around Australia.
Regulation and Management of Extractive Resources (Cambodia, Timor Leste, Africa) (ALAF)
Delivered jointly with the Graduate School of Government the objectives of this ALAF programme were to strengthen public sector mining institutions and contribute to the sustainable development of the sector; examine the design, implementation and evaluation of policy by government as regulator, service provider and law maker in extractive industries; and strengthen the regulation and management and tax instruments of the sector resulting in a contribution to economic growth in the countries concerned. The achieved these objectives through a series of learning activities including tailored modules in Public Policy: Delivering Public Value; Public Sector Leadership; Strategic Management; Mining Tax Law; Management of Mining Revenues; Mining Contracts; Issues Management; Infrastructure, Planning and Development; Funding Infrastructure; Disputed Territories and Sustainable Development in Extractive Industries.
Mining Course 4 – Sustainable Management of Revenue Flows
Project dates: June/July and August/September 2011.
In partnership with with the Graduate School of Government Sydney Law School delivered this AusAID funded Australia Africa Awards programme to two cohorts of Fellows from Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Togo, Gabon, Mozambique and Liberia from government and one from civil society. The programmes ran for six weeks and covered topics including public policy, legal and regulatory frameworks, transparent management and reporting of revenue flows, development and implementation of financial policies and tax instruments, EITI, future sharing, mining tax law, occupation health and safety, infrastructure development and fiscal benefits, contract negotiation, project management, global oil and gas contracts, issues management, sustainable development in EI, environmental impact studies and audits, public sector leadership and corporate social responsibility and included site visits and briefings from relevant government and non-government agencies in Western Australia and New South Wales.
Extractive Resources: Regulation and Management; Extractive Resources: Sustainable Management of Revenue Flows.
Delivered jointly with the Graduate School of Government these two AusAID funded programmes to 20 fellows from Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Mali ran for two months and covered subjects including global oil and gas contracts and issues, public policy, mining tax law, issues management, project management, public sector leadership and environmental impacts and audits and included site visits and briefings from relevant government and non-government agencies in Western Australia and New South Wales.
Tax Administration Capacity Building in Samoa (ALAF Round 7 | Professor Lee Burns)
Project dates: 26 June - 15 October 2010.
The Tax Administration Capacity Building Fellowship Program transfered key skills and knowledge in international tax, tax enforcement and tax information exchange to a senior tax official from the Inland Revenue Services Department, Samoa, for the purposes of assisting the Government of Samoa to develop a better understanding of international tax rules in the context of the global economy, to design improved enforcement practices and to implement transparent tax practices. Through strengthening public sector capacity in this area, the Inland Revenue Services Department will be able to develop and implement more effective international tax enforcement policies and undertake meaningful exchange of tax information with key trading partners, such as Australia.
Tax Administration Capacity Building in Vanuatu (ALAF Round 4 | Professor Lee Burns)
Project dates: 7 - 30 May 2009
The Tax Administration Capacity Building Fellowship Program transfered key skills and knowledge in tax enforcement, transparent tax practices and development of tax instruments and policy to a senior tax official from the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue, Vanuatu, for the purpose of assisting the Government to develop better enforcement practices, consider new sources of revenue, and implement transparent tax practises. Through strengthening public sector capacity in this area, the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue will be able to develop and implement a more effective tax audit policy and meet its obligations to the international community to engage in transparent tax practices. Further, the program will enable the Government to address issues of economic growth and financial management through developing new tax rules which will ensure ongoing and expanded sources of Government revenue.
Strengthening Extractive Industry Governance in Eastern and Southern Africa (ALAF)
Delivered jointly with the Graduate School of Government this programme saw 5 Mining Commissioners (or their delegates) undertake a 3 month programme which assisted them to develop innovative ways to build a public sector capacity for increased fiscal and accounting transparency in the mining sector in their countries. The programme covered issues management, public policy and mining taxation and included site visits and briefings from relevant government and non-government agencies in Western Australia and New South Wales. The programme covered related issues such as royalty and taxation resource regimes, public policy and production sharing, energy security, sustainability, workplace safety and mine closures
Tax Administration Capacity Building Tonga (ALAF Round 2 | Professor Lee Burns)
Project dates: 28 February - 30 May 2008
Tonga has traditionally relied on trade taxes to support its revenue base. In recent years, Tonga has signed the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) and the Pacific Agreement for Closer Economic Relations (PACER). Further, Tonga’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was approved in 2005 and is expected to be implemented in 2008.
The signing of PICTA and PACER, and WTO membership resulted in a substantial reduction in trade tax revenue. In response to this, Tonga embarked on a major tax reform project to replace the expected reduction in trade tax revenues. The Fellowship developed capacity and provided knowledge transfer in key areas by delivering short term training and professional development to a senior tax administrator of the Revenue Services Department