Below are the Australian government policy changes that AID/WATCH believes are necessary for an aid program based on social justice and human rights, and environmental sustainability.

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1 – Remove ‘National Interest’ from the objective of Australia’s aid program.[1]


2 – Avoid the securitsation of aid.

Funds for placing Australian security forces overseas should not be considered as aid funding as this is inherently linked to Australia’s own national security


3 – Reduce the proportion of Technical Assistance in the AusAID budget to at least the OECD average; and ensure that any Technical Assistance funded is carried out in partnership with recipient governments.

Currently only 38% of Australian Technical Assistance is carried out in partnership, as opposed to the OECD average of 59% of aid conducted in government partnership1 TA should only be used when appropriately led by aid recipients who must be able to define their own capacity development needs and identify what support, if any, is required from foreign advisors.


4 – Create an independent body to monitor aid effectiveness and accountability.

This could be achieved by transforming the existing Office of Development Effectiveness into a genuinely independent body which makes all its reports public. All ODE reports include a detailed breakdown of expenditures.

Currently the budget shows a $330 million item with only a sentence of explanation to the Australian public.


5 – Reduce the amount of aid channelled through private corporations.


6 – Improve the transparency of commercial aid contracts.

Currently commercial-in-confidence contracts prevent transparency on AusAID contracts; million dollar contracts are awarded with only a few general words explaining to the public what the money is used for. Budgets should be broken down and evaluation reports should be made public.


7 – Increase the proportion of aid channelled through NGOs.

At present less than 10% of the value of aid contracts are administered through NGO’s


8 – Prioritise aid programs that help grassroots communities become eco-sufficient and culturally autonomous.


9 – Uphold Australia’s commitment made in the Kyoto Agreement that funds on climate change will not come out of existing aid commitments for MDGs. 

Under the 1995 Berlin Mandate, which Australia signed at the time, and implemented under the later 1997 Kyoto Agreement, finally signed by Australia in 2007, the UNFCCC agreed that funding for joint implementation of climate mitigation would be additional to ‘current official development assistance (ODA) flows’ [2]


10 – Cease artificially inflating the aid budget                                        

For example, by including funding for debt cancellation, processing of asylum seekers, scholarship schemes, national security concerns and government departments. These should be funded in addition to the Australian aid budget.


11 – Fund education for public understanding of the implications and impacts of aid.


Last updated 14 November 2010     Next Page


[1] AusAID’s Management of the Expanding Australian Aid Program, The Auditor-General Ian Mc-Phee, Audit Report No.15 2009–10 – Performance Audit, 2010

[2] UNFCCC (1995) Report of the Conference of the Parties on its First Session, held at Berlin from 28 March to 7 April 1995, Decision 5/CP1; see also Friends of the Earth Australia (2009) Stronger communities greener growth: environment and climate change strategy for Australian development assistance, Submission to AusAID, FoEA, Melbourne.