Summary of recommendations
Recommendation 1 (relating to the role of development in Australia’s foreign policy)
The White Paper presents a unique opportunity to clarify the role of development in Australian foreign policy and in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in an integrated post-AusAID era. It should do this in four ways, by:
1.1 emphasizing the importance of development for Australian foreign policy, including by renaming DFAT as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
1.2 articulating the goals of our foreign policy in terms not only of advancing Australia’s interests but also of expressing our values
1.3 noting the importance of aid implementation, and committing to reverse the perceived decline in aid effectiveness and communications post-integration
1.4 referring to the importance for development of policy tools other than aid, in particular labour mobility in the Pacific.
Recommendation 2 (relating to linking aid to Australian values):
Reflecting the values of Australians, Australian aid should be focused, first and foremost, on helping tackle development problems in developing countries.
Recommendation 3 (relating to the aid policy framework):
The government should undertake to refresh its aid policy framework from about mid-2017, three years after the adoption of the existing framework, with a view to enhancing its relevance, its flexibility and its usefulness as a tool for communication and accountability. As part of this process, the government should consider shifting away from country-based allocations in most cases and defining a core set of thematic priorities on which Australia is particularly well placed to deliver. It should also assess the merits of creating new institutional arrangements to deliver on certain priorities, including international medical research and outward investment promotion.
Recommendation 4 (relating to aid volumes)
In the interests of enhancing Australia’s standing as a good international citizen, the government should, as a first step, commit to increase Australia’s ODA/GNI ratio to at least 0.3 per cent, the present OECD average, over several budgets (i.e. by 2020).
Recommendation 5 (relating to Australia’s unique role in the Pacific)
Australia plays a unique role in the Pacific islands, as the largest economy and provider of development assistance in the region. Foreign aid to the region is likely to continue to be important in the future, given the limits to growth imposed by economic geography and poor governance. Australian aid must therefore be predictable. It should be used in such a way as to leverage other sources of funding, and to allow Pacific islanders to take advantage of the limited income-generating opportunities that are available to them.
Recommendation 6 (relating to Pacific labour mobility)
To promote Pacific labour mobility, Australia should:
6.1 Continue to promote and reform the Seasonal Workers Program to improve employer demand.
6.2 Introduce a Pacific Category permanent migration visa.
6.3 Promote bilateral Work and Holiday Agreements with Pacific island countries.
6.4 Expand the Temporary Graduate visa to include Australia-Pacific Technical College graduates.
6.5 Pilot an aged care trial to examine the industry suitability for Pacific labour mobility.
6.6 Develop an ‘aid for migration’ strategy to foster labour mobility in the Pacific, especially in countries without a history of migration.
Read full Foreign Policy White Paper submission here