Australian Aid Review to Propose Cutting Some Programs, Review Panel Head Says

Dancers from Papua New Guinea's highlands perform during the launch of Australian-funded teacher training facilities. A sweeping review of Australia's foreign aid spending would recommend some programs to be “cut, amalgamated or consolidated,” according to the review panel chief. Photo by: Catherine Markson / AusAID

A sweeping review of Australia’s foreign aid spending would recommend some programs to be “cut, amalgamated or consolidated,” the head of the panel handling the review said Thursday (April 14), without giving specifics as to which programs are likely to be halted.

“I think our philosophy would be do less and do it better,” Sandy Hollway said in an interview on ABC’s “Lateline” program, as quoted in ABC.net.au.

The review would also recommend that Australian agencies delivering development assistance publish aid information online, Hollway said, explaining that his team thinks transparency is key to improving Australia’s foreign aid programs.

“To the maximum extent possible … contracts should be done in a fashion that allows the terms of those contracts to be exposed to the general public,” he explained, as quoted by ABC.

He also said the review found that fraud within Australia foreign aid system was not as bad as what the public may think. Hollway backed Australian Agency for International Development head Peter Baxter’s statement that only 3.4 million Australian dollars ($3.6 million) has been lost to fraud out of the total AU$20 billion the country has spent in aid programs over the past seven years.

Baxter has dismissed media reports claiming massive fraud in AusAID operations.

AusAid Dismisses Reports of Fraud in Aid Programs

Read more development aid news.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.