Australia is recognising the importance and relevance of Southeast Asia, with a DFAT Office of Southeast Asia and a standalone Southeast Asia Economic Strategy in the works.
ODA reflects this region as a priority, with an additional $470m announced in the October 2022 budget for it.
But beyond dollars, there are some very real and practical ways of engaging with Southeast Asia.
Sandra Hamid, who is based in Jakarta, served as the Indonesian country representative to The Asia Foundation. She says that engaging with and promoting civil society is absolutely key. She also points out that Australia can, and should, harness the skills and knowledge of locally-employed staff in its embassies and high commissions in Asia.
Sandra speaks with Rachel in the penultimate episode of Reimagining Development about why Australia has a pivotal role to play in harnessing civil society, particularly in Indonesia.
‘Reimagining Development: Conversations on the new development policy’ is a joint initiative between Good Will Hunters and ACFID, Australia’s peak body for the international aid and development sector. It is hosted by Rachel Mason Nunn, founder of GWH, and Jessica Mackenzie, Chief Policy Officer at ACFID.