Since the election of a conservative Government in late 2013 the Australian aid program has been radically transformed. Under the Government’s ‘new aid paradigm’ it is difficult to recognise aid as having a meaningful development mandate beyond promoting the private sector and growth. The official purpose of aid is now to promote the national interest, with aid explicitly geared to Australia’s commercial, security and diplomatic interests. AusAid has been dissolved into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with aid fully integrated into Australia’s ‘economic diplomacy’. Private finance is lauded as the cure-all for poverty reduction and the primary purpose of aid has been transformed into a means of leveraging Australian private interests. Having established its new aid ideology, the Government has cut the aid budget by almost 25%, reducing aid to its lowest level as a proportion on of national income since the early 1970s. This recent Australian experience shows us the neo-liberal model of aid at work – negating the traditional conception of aid as development assistance and instead enabling a new corporate-state nexus, branded as ‘economic diplomacy’.

Having established its new aid ideology, the Government has cut the aid budget by almost 25%, reducing aid to its lowest level as a proportion on of national income since the early 1970s. This recent Australian experience shows us the neo-liberal model of aid at work – negating the traditional conception of aid as development assistance and instead enabling a new corporate-state nexus, branded as ‘economic diplomacy’.

The AID/WATCH Chapter in the 2016 Reality of Aid Report seriously questions whether Australian aid qualifies as ‘official development assistance’ (ODA).

Download AID/WATCH Chapter

Download Full 2016 Reality of Aid

 

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