Australia’s aid program is an integral part of our broader foreign and security policy objectives and priorities. The fundamental purpose of Australian aid is to help people overcome poverty.
Australia gives aid because it is unacceptable that across the world:
- 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty
- 7 million children die every year from preventable causes; and
- 67 million kids, including 35 million girls, do not receive basic primary-level education
Eradicating extreme poverty around the world by promoting economic growth, prosperity and stability is in Australia’s national interest.
This new AusAID blog is yet another way we will be communicating the results of Australia’s new aid policy. This blog will be a new platform for discussion on Australia’s aid program and a tool that we can use to show you what we are doing and to explain the ‘why’.
We will be posting updates and stories from AusAID staff who will be blogging from around the world. We will be seeking the views of international and domestic development experts to provide their analysis of important development issues and world events as they impact the aid program. We encourage you to leave comments and provide us with feedback on how you would like to further engage with the aid program.
Earlier this year I addressed Parliament on Australia’s new aid policy, and our efforts to position Australia as a leading international aid donor. Our new aid policy is about making sure Australian aid delivers real and measurable results on the ground, in countries where we provide aid.
It is about helping 330,000 children attend school in Indonesia. Helping over 5,000 Nepalese women set up new businesses through a micro-enterprise program. And supporting worldwide efforts to tackle the last remaining cases of polio. This is an aid program that Australians can all be proud of – it makes a real difference and delivers real results.
Australia is one of the more transparent donors by global donor standards. Just this month the Brookings Institution undertook an analysis of our aid program, and scored Australia above average on transparency indicators. But we can do much better.
That’s why the Government has agreed to the recommendation of the Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness to develop a Transparency Charter. The Charter is a commitment by the Government to ensure that anyone who is interested will be able to access detailed information about the Australian aid program’s policies, plans, processes, expenditure and results. The Charter is about increasing the accountability of aid dollars at home and abroad and making it easier for people interested in the delivery of our aid to find out more about it. In line with the Charter, more information on the aid program will be made available through the AusAID website.
Starting with two programs, Vanuatu and the Philippines, we are releasing more detailed information about the work the Australian aid program is doing in these countries. We will be providing similar levels of information for Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, East Timor and Vietnam by early next year and all programs will be available by the end of the 2012.
This is important, not only because Australians have a right to know that their tax dollars are making a difference, but because increased transparency is fundamental to improving the effectiveness of aid. I hope the availability of this detailed information will generate better conversations and debate about the work of the Australian aid program and how the aid we deliver is helping to improve the lives of people around the world.
Australia’s new transparency initiative will give people in countries that receive our aid funding greater access to and visibility of the money we provide and details on what is happening with it. And this will mean we will do a better job, because we are being held to account by an informed and proactive public.
Minister for Foreign Affairs