Australian aid

Alt textMinister for International Development and the Pacific, Hon Pat Conroy MP, at the 2022 Australasian Aid Conference

Australian aid is a key focus area for the Development Policy Centre, and we are grateful for funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports our work on aid.

Our annual aid budget breakfast events break down the Federal Budget and what it means for aid and development, the morning after the Treasurer delivers the budget speech.

Our Australian Aid Tracker provides rigorous information on how much aid Australia gives, where it goes, and what it is spent on.
The annual Australasian AID Conference (AAC), held in partnership with The Asia Foundation (TAF), is an integral part of the Australian and regional aid calendar. In 2022 the Devpol and TAF also hosted the AAC Speaker Series.

Current areas of ongoing research include:

Aid project effectiveness
In this work we are using a large dataset of aid project appraisals to focus on which types of projects succeed and where. To date, we have looked at World Bank and Asian Development Bank loans in the Pacific, Australian aid projects, and the question of why most donors struggle with effective aid in the Pacific. We are continuing to build our dataset of Australian project appraisals to cover more recent years and will be releasing further analysis soon.

Australian aid flows
In this work we are systematically analysing how much aid Australia gives, where it is spent and what it is spent on. We are also tracking the gender and climate focus of Australian aid. The first Australian aid flows report was released in 2021.

Public opinion on aid
In this work we are tracking trends in Australian support for aid over time. We have also studied which types of Australian are most likely to support aid. We are using survey experiments to study whether support for aid can be changed. Work on changing attitudes has included: whether accurate information on aid volumes changes support, whether framing projects in the national interest changes support, whether information on China in the Pacific changes support, and whether information on COVID-19 changes support.

Aid transparency
In this work we assess the transparency of the Australian aid program at the project-level as measured by the availability of information about aid-funded projects on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) website. Audits have been conducted in 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2022.

Australian NGOs
In this work we have studied where and how Australian NGOs work overseas. We have also studied which parts of Australia have the most NGO donors. We have also studied: trends in donations to NGOs and the drivers of donations; gender equity in senior NGO management; and NGO use of the internet. We have worked with the Australian Council of International Development, including on their inaugural State of the Sector report.

Other
We routinely make submissions to the Australian Senate and other inquiries on aid, and regularly publish reports and discussion papers on many aspects of aid. All can be downloaded from our publications page.

In addition, the Devpolicy Blog is home to numerous posts and debates on aid.

In our Aid Profiles series, we told stories of contributions to aid and development throughout our region, but with an Australian twist. The Mitchell Humanitarian Award (from 2017 to 2020) was awarded to a contribution to the cause of international development which inspired others, was of lasting and significant value, had a link to Australia, and had not yet been adequately recognised.

Review
A review of the Development Policy Centre’s work on aid and development was published in February 2024.
» Read Review

People
Staff working on Australian aid research and projects at the centre include:

Stephen Howes
Terence Wood
Cameron Hill
Huiyuan (Sharon) Liu
Aloha Jeon

Updated:  25 April 2024/Responsible Officer:  Devpolicy Admin/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team