Australia Unveils Foreign Aid Plans Through 2014

Kevin Rudd, prime minister of Australia. Photo by: UN Mark Garten

The Rudd administration has unveiled a strategy to bring Australia’s official development assistance to 0.5 percent of its gross national income by 2015-‘16.

The proportion of Australia’s ODA to its GNI is projected to grow to 0.33 percent in the coming financial year and hit 0.42 percent in 2013-2014, according to a news release from the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The funding increase will help enhance the delivery of basic services, particularly education and health.

Australia will, for instance, invest an additional 303.7 million Australian dollars (USD271 million) over four years to support educational programs, including 2,400 scholarships and short courses under the Australia Awards initiative. Separately, 323 million Australian dollars will go toward bolstering access to quality education in Indonesia.

Some 173.4 million Australian dollars will be invested in efforts to curb child malnutrition, infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases, and to improve maternal health in the developing world. The four-year funding will, among other things, be used to procure medicines, train nurses and midwives. 

AusAID and its partners will conduct a joint review on the use of technical advisers in 2010-11, according to the government plan.

Australia’s humanitarian emergency and refugee-related funding is expected to increase to 301.5 million Australian dollars in 2010–‘11. The government will channel the funds through United Nations agencies, the Red Cross and non-governmental organizations, mainly for humanitarian needs in the Pacific, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.

Development assistance for Afghanistan will rise to 141 million Australian dollars in 2010-‘11.

In Africa, Australia plans to focus on food security, maternal and child health, and on building leadership capacity on the continent. The country will allocate 346.9 million Australian dollars over four years to increase the number of of Australia Awards in Africa to 1,000 annually by 2012–‘13.

Addressing climate change is another focus for Australia in the coming years. The government wants to earmark 56 million Australian dollars for 2012-‘13 to help poor countries reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation through its International Forest Carbon Initiative. Under the plan, 178.2 million Australian dollars would go to the International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative and 15 million Australian dollars to the Climate Change Partnerships for Development in 2012-‘13.

Australia would continue to back multilateral mechanisms aimed at assisting countries shift to lower-carbon economies and counter climate change, spending some 106.2 million Australian dollars over three years, including 5 million Australian dollars in 2009-10. 

People with disabilities will benefit from 30.2 million Australian dollars in assistance from the Australian government. The funding, spread over four years from 2010–11, will be used to enhance access and social economic opportunities for people with disabilities. 

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.