ACFID has welcomed the Australian Government building on its election commitments and directing an additional $1.4 billion over 4 years to the Official Development Assistance (ODA) program. A total of $4.651 billion will be delivered in 2022-23. This is a strong start towards rebuilding Australia’s ODA program and sets the scene for the new Development Policy process. However, there are some notable gaps that require further action through the Development Policy process and future budgets to resource critical areas like hunger and climate change.
The Australian Government’s decision to go beyond its election commitments in the Budget and direct an additional $375 million (making a total of $1.4 billion over four years) towards international development is a welcome and strategic reset, according to the sector’s peak body.
“This funding boost is an indication that the Labor Government takes seriously the message that Australia’s aid program has a role to play in helping our neighbours tackle the complexities of the pandemic and economic woes,” said ACFID CEO Marc Purcell.
ACFID also welcomes the announcement of $30 million to go to the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) over the next four years, and the restoration of funding to the central disability budget of $12.9 million for 2022-23.
The Government has advised that Australia’s ODA levels remain at 0.20% of GNI.
Hunger must remain an urgent priority
However there are some noticeable gaps, with critical areas of need like hunger and climate change not fully addressed.
ACFID and its members are advocating for the Australian Government to commit $150 million to help combat rising hunger and expected famine in parts of the world, including the Horn of Africa. The government committed $15 million in August and has made no further commitments since. With hunger levels rising to alarming levels and millions on the brink of famine, it is vital the Australian Government does not ignore this.
More still needs to be done on climate change mitigation and adaptation in the Pacific. The Budget included a suite of measures aimed at addressing climate change in the region – including an allocation of $200 million for the Indonesia Climate and Infrastructure Partnership.
Beyond this, the attribution of $500 million to the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), which is concessional loans, being counted as part of our climate financing commitments is not what we would have hoped.
The government has announced $97.6m additional ODA for 2022-23, bringing the total foreign aid budget to $4.65 billion. This includes $1.9 billion for the Pacific this financial year, which is a historic high.
Tonight’s details add to last week’s announcement of the additional $1.4 billion over four years, including:
- $375 million in new funds on top of the pre-election announcements of $525 million in ODA for the Pacific, $470 million for South-East Asia, and the $31.6 million for Australian NGO Cooperation program;
- Reinstating the 80% target for gender; and a new requirement that design of programs worth over $3 million must include gender equality objectives;
- Restoring the central disability fund to $12.9 million per annum to support disability inclusion.
“We commend the Albanese Government for taking such a strong stance on foreign aid so soon after taking office,” said Mr Purcell.
“It sends a strong message that this is a government that is serious about building long-term partnerships in our region and is willing to spend to tackle complex social and development issues around the world.”
ACFID is also pleased to see that the Temporary, Targeted and Supplementary (TTS) measures have been folded into the base ODA – meaning hundreds of millions of dollars allocated during COVID-19 that were due to expire in coming years have now permanently increased the overall ODA program.
We look forward to working with the Government on its new Development Policy process over the coming months, that will inform the 2023-24 Budget next May, and beyond.