Civil Society Welcomes Australia's Independent Aid Review

Members of AusAID unload medical equipment in Indonesia. The planned review of Australia's aid program is welcomed by non-governmental organizations in the country. Photo by: Melbourne the Photographer / AusAID

Non-governmental organizations in Australia appear to welcome the planned review of the country’s aid program, the first since 1996. Some NGOs said they hope the independent review will deliver to civil society groups a larger portion of the country’s aid budget.

“NGOs … should probably receive, in this review, attention about our slice of the aid pie,” Tim Costello, head of World Vision Australia and spokesperson for the Australian Council for International Development said, according to the Australian Associated Press.

ACFID, which includes 70 development and humanitarian NGOs, said it is confident the review will find mismanagement or waste, AAP reports. Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop said she hopes the review will see more Australian aid delivered through NGOs.

“I’d also like to see a greater focus on the delivery of aid through NGOs, through private sector, not necessarily just through government circles,” Bishop was quoted by ABC News as saying. “There are many people on the ground in some of these recipient countries - many people with a great deal of experience of getting aid dollars to where it’s most needed.”

The independent review, to be conducted by an external panel, will examine the effectiveness and efficiency, as well as guide the strategic direction of Australia’s aid program.

>> Australia Plans Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness

“On a normal year-to-year basis, there are multiple audits conducted by the Australian National Audit Office, by other external and internal audit arrangements,” Minister for Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd told ABC Radio National’s Lyndal Curtis in an interview. “[B]ut every now and then you need to step back from the lot and say, what’s the policy framework, are the programs in place best designed to give effect to the policy in terms of poverty reduction, in terms of providing a credible path towards self-generated economic development.”

The review will examine the Australian aid program’s geographic focus and performance, Annmaree O’Keeffe, research fellow at the Lowy Institute, writes in the blog, “Development Policy.

Rizza Leonzon contributed to this report.

About the author

  • 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.