Submission to DFAT New International Development Policy

By Cameron Hill and Terence Wood

November 2022

The Australian Government is preparing a new policy to guide international development cooperation. It invited submissions to consider the immediate challenges and longer-term trends in our region, as well as risks and opportunities for Australia’s international development engagement.

This submission recommends:

  1. That in articulating the purpose of development assistance, any formulation should emphasise that development impact must be at the heart of Australia’s aid program, and that an effective aid program serves our national interest first and foremost by creating a safer, more prosperous and more inclusive world.
  2. That the development policy reflects the fact that Australia’s main developing-country partners are all very different countries, both in terms of the development challenges they face and the opportunities they provide for aid partnerships. As a result, Australia should not have a particular overarching preference for any particular type of sector or partner. The most appropriate approach to aid delivery will be determined by recipient country and local context.
  3. That the policy specifies how our engagement in the Pacific, particularly with small Pacific Island countries, will incorporate a broader suite of development tools like expanding labour mobility and permanent migration opportunities, shared service delivery, and regional economic integration.
  4. That, in addition to its regional focus, the policy includes greater funding for global public goods to end the current free-riding and sets out the priorities and result areas for Australia’s multilateral, global and humanitarian programs.
  5. That the policy sets out a medium-term, multi-year budget framework that increases aid in real terms over time, is endorsed by Cabinet and is, if possible, legislated.
  6. That the policy includes specific and properly resourced measures to enhance long-term development partnerships and aid effectiveness, strengthen development capability, and improve transparency. The former will be particularly important in fragile states in the Pacific where predictable, long-term and flexible funding will be critical to achieving impact.

Hill, C. & Wood, T. 2022, Submission to DFAT New International Development Policy, Development Policy Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra.

Karen Downing

Karen Downing is Research Communications Coordinator at the Development Policy Centre.