Outsourcing the Australian aid program

A truck driver delivers relief supplies provided by the Australian government and UNICEF Pacific in Tailevu, Fiji. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's issuance of larger international development contracts illustrates a greater reliance on the private sector to deliver aid programs. Photo by: DfAT / CC BY

Budget cuts, organizational and leadership changes, and an overall lack of predictability have taken a well-documented toll on the Australian aid program over the years.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which manages the country’s foreign aid portfolio, has continued emphasizing the role of the private sector in international development. The new aid paradigm, launched by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in June 2014 as the Australian government’s new aid policy and performance framework, stressed that the aid program would be “underpinned” by private sector support.

“The government will invest over 90 percent of our country and regional program funding in our region. We will harness the private sector in those countries, so that Australia’s aid programme promotes the major driver of poverty reduction — economic growth,” Bishop said.

Similarly, Australia’s aid for trade program turns the focus onto the private sector as partners in aid to promote market-based solutions to deliver development outcomes.

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About the author

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    Lisa Cornish

    Lisa Cornish is a freelance data journalist based in Canberra, Australia. Lisa formerly worked with News Corp Australia as a data journalist for the national network and was published throughout Australia in major metropolitan and regional newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph in Melbourne, Herald Sun in Melbourne, Courier-Mail in Brisbane and online through news.com.au. Lisa has recently been awarded the 2014 Journalist of the Year by the New South Wales Institute of Surveyors.