On the third anniversary of Myanmar's military coup, Australia has announced new sanctions. 

The move, aimed at curtailing the flow of funds and resources essential for the military regime's operations, has been met with mixed reactions from civil groups and activists who argue for more comprehensive measures.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong revealed the imposition of sanctions against key financial institutions, including the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank and Myanmar Investment and Commercial Bank, critical in supporting the junta's state-owned enterprises. 

Additionally, sanctions were placed on Asia Sun Group, Asia Sun Trading Co Ltd, and Cargo Link Petroleum, accused of supplying jet fuel used by the Myanmar military in conducting indiscriminate airstrikes against civilians.

“These sanctions are a response to the regime's ongoing repression of the people of Myanmar, escalating violence, and the continuing deterioration of the political, humanitarian and security situation,” Wong stated.

The global community, with the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom leading the charge, has already implemented sanctions targeting the regime's access to aviation fuel, a response to the military's lethal air assaults that resulted in significant civilian casualties last year.

Despite the government's actions, civil society groups and activists press for Australia to extend sanctions to Myanmar's lucrative resource sector. 

A report from Justice For Myanmar last month highlighted the involvement of nearly a dozen Australian and Australian-linked mining companies in the country, suggesting a need to sever ties that potentially finance the junta's atrocities.

“Australia still has a long way to go simply to catch up with the sanctions already imposed by its allies,” Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung said.

Clancy Moore, CEO of Transparency International Australia, has acknowledged the strong message sent by the new sanctions but points out the missed opportunity in not targeting state-owned mining enterprises.
“Australia's lack of sanctions on the state-owned enterprises Mining Enterprise 1 and Mining Enterprise 2 that oversee mining sector and collect revenue for the junta means the door is wide open for the ten Australian-linked mining companies to continue to do business with the corrupt and murderous military regime,” he said.

“Given Australia's support for democracy in the region and for the people of Myanmar, we would expect the Australian Government to follow the lead of the US, EU and Canada in sanctioning these important state-owned enterprises lining the pockets of the corrupt and murderous Myanmar generals.”