This profile has been updated in March 2018.
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 through bilateral channels. Priority issues are ‘aid for trade’ and support for women and girls. Specifically, it aims to dedicate 20% of its ODA budget by 2020 to addressing constraints to trade, and its development policy requires that 80% of activities must address gender issues.
Key opportunities
  • The 'Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific Region' was launched by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in October 2017, pledging A$300 million (US$223 million) over five years for research into prevention and containment of emerging infectious diseases. A$150 million (US$112 million) of this funding is yet to be allocated to specific purposes.
  • In 2014, Australia announced a A$20 billion (US$15 billion) non-ODA perpetual fund for academic health research, the Medical Research Future Fund. A small proportion of annual spending is to go to research into diseases affecting developing countries and has so far included A$2 million (US$1.5 million) for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and A$6 million (US$4 million) for antimicrobial resistance.
  • A federal election will be held between September 2018 and mid-2019, which will prompt updated policy statements from political parties on development priorities. A change in government could lead to a shift in national development strategy.

Key Questions

the big six

In the Marshall Islands Australia supports preparation for the impacts of severe climate and oceanographic events through the Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific.

Australia

Outlook

How will Australia’s ODA develop? What will Australia’s ODA focus on? What are key opportunities in 2016 and 2017 for shaping Australia’s development policy? read more

How will Australia’s ODA develop?

  • Increases in ODA funding flows are unlikely in coming years, as the government has announced it will freeze inflationary increases from 2019 to 2021. This will result in an additional projected cut of about US$225 million.
  • The next federal election is due between late 2018 and late 2019. A shift in government to the opposition Labor party may change ODA priorities.

What will Australia’s ODA focus on?

  • Promoting economic growth and reducing poverty across the Indo-Pacific region is expected to remain a focus. Australia plans to continue spending at least 90% of its ODA on countries in this region, while scaling back its development budget in other regions. The government has also set an ‘aid for trade’ investment target of 20% by 2020.
  • Women’s empowerment and gender equality will remain priorities. At least 80% of all development investments will effectively address gender issues. Support to the Global Fund is also important: during the 2016 Global Fund replenishment, Australia increased its commitment by 10% for 2017 to 2019.

What are key opportunities for shaping Australia’s development policy?

  • Health research and development (R&D) will remain an important focus of Australia’s portfolio, from both within and outside of the ODA budget. The ‘Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific Region’ was launched by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in October 2017, pledging A$300 million (US$223 million) over five years for research into prevention and containment of infectious diseases. A$150 million (US$112 million) is yet to be allocated and provides an opportunity to influence spending directions.
  • In 2014, Australia established a domestic A$20 billion (US$15 billion) perpetual fund for academic health research, known as the Medical Research Future Fund. The first disbursements have included a A$2 million (US$1.5 million) contribution to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and A$6 million (US$4 million) for antimicrobial resistance research. Decisions on the disbursement of these MRFF funds are made annually.
  • The increased focus on addressing women’s empowerment provides opportunities for applying cross-sectoral development approaches to the design and implementation of development programs. The government is also keen to demonstrate success through partnerships in its innovation agenda for overseas development.
     
Further readings

Government sources

Other official sources

Civil society sources