Labor to rebuild Australia’s international development agenda

Labor’s international development policies will help re-establish Australia as the partner of choice for countries in our region to address economic, development, climate and security challenges. These policies will also rebuild our international development agenda and ensure that Australia does its utmost to meet the challenges facing developing countries around the world.

This is not only the right thing to do from a humanitarian point of view, but as evidenced by the recently signed security pact between China and the Solomon Islands, it is clear that almost a decade of successive cuts in Australia’s aid program leaves a void for others to fill, which has strategic implications for our region and for our own security.

Labor foreign policy is based on the belief that we treat the world as it is and seek to change it for the better. It means a foreign policy that is not transactional, but teleological.

There will be no better example of this than our approach to international development. Our approach will be guided by objectives defined by our values, interests and identity. These values ​​are fairness, equality and compassion.

Our primary interest must always be the security and prosperity of the nation and our people, in conjunction with our deep and abiding commitment to a stable, prosperous and peaceful region rooted in the rule of law where the public goods that shape our values ​​are preserved. and defended.

We must do so in the context of confronting shifts in the balance of economic and strategic power, economic and social inequalities, rising nationalism, and challenges to the rules-based liberal order that are reshaping our world.

That’s why Labor is so concerned about the coalition government’s cuts to Australia’s foreign aid budget, which total more than $11.8 billion since 2013. Under Scott Morrison’s leadership, the australia’s official development assistance (ODA) has fallen to an all-time high as a share of national income.

The Labor Party’s plan to rebuild Australia’s international development agenda is a key part of our commitment to a strong, principled approach to national security and a self-reliant, ambitious foreign policy.

Our plan will focus Australian ODA spending on the following areas:

  • poverty reduction
  • equitable access to quality health and education services
  • economic development and infrastructure investment
  • climate change and environmental sustainability
  • sustainable management of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and food security
  • water, sanitation and hygiene
  • good governance
  • global humanitarian crises and the root causes of crisis, conflict, instability and insecurity
  • empowerment of people with disabilities, and
  • gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as a key objective, including ensuring that at least 80% of Australia’s aid investments address gender issues and combat poverty violence against women and children.

We have already announced that a Labor government will increase Australia’s ODA to the Pacific by $525 million over the next four years.

This funding is in addition to the existing ODA budget, including the additional ODA funding announced in the federal budget earlier this year.

Our Pacific policy is an example of the multidimensional approach we will take to securing our region. It was designed to support the development and security objectives of our friends in the Pacific. He understands:

  • restore Australia’s climate leadership as well as listen and act on the warnings of the Pacific Islands about the existential threat of climate change by establishing a Pacific Climate Infrastructure Funding Partnershipand bid to co-host a future Conference of the Parties in Australia with our Pacific partners
  • delivering a Indo-Pacific Broadcast Strategy which strengthens Australian public and commercial media content to audiences in our region, increases training for Pacific journalists and strengthens partnerships with broadcasters in our region
  • establishing a new Australia-Pacific Defense School provide training for members of the defense and security forces of Pacific island nations
  • double Australia’s funding for the Pacific Maritime Security Program to help Pacific governments recover some of the estimated $150 million in annual revenue lost to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
  • reinstate regular bipartisan parliamentary visits from the Pacific demonstrate to the Pacific family that stronger partnerships in the Pacific are in Australia’s national interest
  • addressing Pacific economic challenges and alleviating agricultural worker shortages in Australia by reform the Seasonal Worker Program and expand the Pacific Labor Schemeand
  • strengthen our people-to-people ties through the Pacific family by encouraging more permanent migration from the Pacific to Australia through a new pacific engagement visa.

These policies use the power of Australia’s proximity, as well as our strong cultural and family ties with Pacific countries, for our common benefit.

There is no greater challenge for the Pacific, and indeed for all developing countries, than climate change. Boe’s 2018 statement stated categorically that climate change is “the greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of Pacific people”.

Yet the coalition government’s refusal to take climate change seriously has been a slap in the face to our Pacific neighbors whom they like to call family. Who needs a family if they blatantly ignore an issue you consider your greatest threat? An Albanian Labor government would take serious and meaningful action on climate change. Only the Labor Party will ensure that Australia is a trusted partner and a true member of the Pacific family.

An Albanian Labor government will rebuild Australia’s international development program by increasing funding, improving the capacity of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, working with Australian aid NGOs and contractors, and improving transparency and accountability in the aid program. An Albanian Labor government will focus on working with DFAT to build development capacity and ensure it is prioritized and valued.

We want to rebuild and reward aid and development skills within the Department. We would expect graduates to be trained in the basics of aid design and management just as they are trained in the basics of other areas of work in the Department. We will be delighted to see experience in development roles within the Department being highly valued for career progression. Developmental assignments should be seen as good, if not essential, for career progression.

Labor also understands and appreciates the invaluable work of Australian aid NGOs, and an Albanian Labor government will increase funding for the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) by $32 million over four years. The ANCP funds accredited Australian charities and NGOs for projects to help people in developing countries with health care, education, prevention of violence against women and children and fight against hunger and deprivation.

We also recognize the vital role that entrepreneurs in development play. Labor will not get bogged down in sectarian arguments over the delivery of aid. We will join with all who are committed to lifting the world out of poverty.

I am very excited that a future Labor government will work to develop new forms of development finance to complement Australian ODA. There is considerable global interest in innovative approaches to financing development, including guarantees for investments in development projects, the provision of first loss insurance and/or cover, and equity investments in development projects. These are seen as having the potential to enhance the effectiveness of subsidies by mobilizing investments in the development of the private sector, financial institutions and multilateral institutions. Australia must help shape these opportunities. As a result, the Labor Party will set up a DFAT-led review to examine new forms of development finance and develop policy options for the government to consider.

Australia’s aid program is a key pillar of our international engagement and enables us to build a region that is stable, prosperous, respectful of sovereignty and resilient to threats. It not only provides vital assistance, but directly supports our foreign and defense policies to deepen Australia’s partnerships in the region, restore Australian leadership and credibility, shape our region in our interests and counter behavior contrary to our interests.

The Labor Party’s plan to rebuild Australia’s international development agenda is a key part of our commitment to a strong, principled approach to national security and a self-reliant, ambitious foreign policy.

Labour’s international development program will talk about who we are, the confidence we have in ourselves, the values ​​we believe in and the region and world we want to live in.

MP Pat Conroy discussed the Australian Labor Party’s aid and development policies at a Electoral Forum on International Development May 9, 2022. Watch the recording of the event.

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