At a glance
Strategic priorities
  • Australia’s development strategy aims to “promote national interest by contributing to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction” across six areas: 1) infrastructure and trade; 2) agriculture, fisheries, and water; 3) effective governance; 4) education and health; 5) building resilience; and 6) gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
  • Australia continues to focus on providing ODA to neighboring countries in the Indo-Pacific region through bilateral channels. Australia plans to continue spending at least 90% of its ODA on countries in this region, while scaling back its development budget in other geographic regions.
  • If the upcoming election sees a change in government, the opposition Labor Party has indicated it will focus development cooperation more on health and education.

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Outlook
  • The ‘Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific Region’ was launched by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2017, pledging A$300 million (US$230 million) over five years for research into prevention and containment of emerging infectious diseases.
  • Australia launched a A$20 billion (US$15 billion) non-ODA perpetual fund for academic health research, the Medical Research Future Fund, in 2014. A small proportion of annual spending is to go to research into diseases affecting developing countries, including antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and health security.
  • In November 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced plans to strengthen engagement with the Pacific region, including through greater military support, ‘sports-for-development’ programs, and the establishment of a A$2 billion (US$1.5 billion) Infrastructure Financing Facility comprising ODA grants and loans.