Australian aid

Alt textThe 2020 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.

In 2022 the Development Policy Centre is hosting the AAC Speaker Series instead of its annual Australasian Aid Conference(which is on hold due to COVID-19). In the AAC Speaker Series, key global development thinkers speak about important development issues.

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. In our Aid Profiles series, we tell the stories of contributions to aid and development throughout our region, but with an Australian twist. Annually, the Mitchell Humanitarian Award is awarded to a contribution to the cause of international development which inspires others, which is of lasting and significant value, which has a link to Australia, and which has not yet been adequately recognised.

In our Aid Transparency Reports (see the most recent) we systematically audit the transparency of the Australian Aid program to see whether it is placing sufficient information on its work in the public domain. We have produced aid transparency reports in 2013, 2016 and 2019. The next report is forthcoming in 2022.

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 were conducted in 2013, 2016 and 2019.

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.

We regularly publish discussion papers on many aspects of aid, which you can download from our Publications page. We routinely make submissions to the Australian Senate and other inquiries on aid.

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

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

Stephen Howes
Terence Wood
Cameron Hill
Huiyuan (Sharon) Liu
Arichika Okazaki

Updated:  30 November 2022/Responsible Officer:  Devpolicy Admin/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team