International Development Assistance


International development assistance is an issue of global justice. Australia has an obligation to contribute to a just and equitable world by working with communities in the Global South to promote human rights, environmental protection, health, education and climate justice. The Greens recognise the strengths and capabilities of recipient countries and commit to working in partnership with local communities. We note the consequences of colonialism and neo-liberal economic policies in the Global South.


The Australian Greens believe that:
1. Australia has a responsibility to contribute to ending global poverty, advancing human rights and gender equality, enhancing self-reliance, protecting the planet and ensuring well-being for all in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals.

2. International development assistance is a global, social and climate justice issue. Australia has a responsibility to contribute to the international response the climate crisis demands by compensating and working with affected communities wherever they are.

3. Poverty in the Global South is a result of colonial capitalism and its ongoing consequences, including the continuing extraction of resources and exploitation of people.

4. Australia has an obligation, particularly as a wealthy and colonial country, to encourage positive and equitable change in the social, economic and environmental conditions for citizens of partner nations through sustainable and inclusive development assistance programs.

5. Australian development assistance programs must recognise the strengths, capabilities and knowledge of recipient countries, including through partnering with local communities.

6. Development assistance programs should be consistent with a human rights-based approach; economically and environmentally sustainable; partnered with local communities and promote gender equality and empowerment, so as to enhance the political, economic and social rights of recipient communities.

7. Australian development assistance projects must recognise the rights of Indigenous communities to free, prior and informed consent, as recognised in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

8. Aid effectiveness requires development strategies and programs that are transparent and designed with and accountable to people living in poverty.

9. The human rights and self-determination of women should be placed at the centre of Australian development assistance programs, which must be delivered using an intersectional feminist approach and with greater effort to ensure it is directed to a diversity of women’s organisations.

10. Development assistance should contribute to a world free from structural inequalities, where people can determine their own futures and where trade and debt no longer exploit people, but instead promote climate, environmental and social justice.

11. The rights of children to health care, education, shelter, good nutrition and protection from violence should be central to Australian development assistance.

12. Australia’s development assistance should prioritise bilateral and United Nations programs for global health, education, environment and sustainable infrastructure over international financial institutions and the private sector.

13. Development assistance programs should not be used to influence the democratic preferences of any nation.

14. Existing or projected funding for Australia’s development assistance programs should, at a minimum, meet our international obligations.

15. Australia must provide climate reparations in addition to overseas development assistance, to affected countries and communities, commensurate with its wealth and historical, ongoing contribution to the problem.

16. Australia must contribute to emergency relief and humanitarian aid to save lives and alleviate suffering of affected people during conflicts and natural disasters:

  1. with impartiality and based solely on need;
  2. with neutrality, not favouring any side in any armed conflict;
  3. independent from the political, economic, or military objectives of the Australian government in the area concerned;
  4. by civilians, except in relation to situations involving natural disasters where ambiguity over the military role is unlikely to arise; and
  5. with full implementation of international humanitarian law, refugee law and human rights.


The Australian Greens want:
1. A focus in Australia’s international development programs on working with recipient countries to alleviate poverty through the promotion of equality, justice, good governance and humanitarian principles.

2. An increase in the level of Australian overseas development assistance to a minimum of 0.7% of GNI as mandated by the United Nations, with provision for increases in the event of natural disasters or conflicts requiring major humanitarian interventions and climate reparations.

3.Full delivery on Australia’s international development and assistance commitments as tabled in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and integrated programming to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

4. Transparency, open communication and accountability in the purpose and impact of all development assistance programs, to both the Australian people and the communities and countries the programs are designed to benefit. This includes ensuring program governance structures and processes to promote access to human rights.

5. A non-commercial development assistance program that puts people and communities before business interests. Development assistance must not be used as a means of subsidising Australian business or promoting Australian business interests overseas. Australian organisations must not be prioritised or advantaged over those from recipient countries for delivery of development assistance programs.

6. Recipient communities to determine the most appropriate means for the receipt and distribution of funds, to maximise benefits of  development assistance in the local community.

7. Long-term development assistance programs that recognise and address the links between the climate crisis, poverty and social and environmental justice.

8. Australia to play a lead role in securing global contributions to UN and other international appeals for funding, expertise and logistical support to deal with humanitarian emergencies wherever they occur.

9. The establishment of an independent development oversight agency, separate from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

10. No discrimination in Australia's overseas development assistance program with environmental, social, gender, sexuality, age, diversity and disability impact statements for all programs and processes to ensure humanitarian finance and assistance reaches communities in greatest need.

11. Programs that focus on women, and the inclusion of gender equality objectives in all other development assistance programs.

12. International aspects of Australian policies on trade, economic and social issues that are consistent with, and contribute to global poverty alleviation goals.

13. The Australian government to recognise and support the valuable role of non-government  development assistance organisations in providing critical analysis and scrutiny of the development assistance program.

14. Transparent selection of agencies for the implementation of development assistance programs based on their effective, inclusive, participatory and partnership approach.

15. Increased funding focused on strengthening and improving access to healthcare services including sexual and reproductive health, and the prevention and treatment of HIV-AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases.

16. Targeted assistance, particularly in the Asia Pacific region to communities threatened by the impacts of climate change so communities can remain together and maintain cultural cohesion, or be assisted to relocate if required.

17. Australian government agencies organised, trained and resourced to carry out effective overseas relief work, collaborating with Australian not for profit organisations and local communities in building their emergency capacity.

18. Collaboration with countries in disaster-prone areas to increase their resilience to disasters, enhancing the capacity of communities, governments and local organisations.

19.The inclusion of good governance activities within the aid program which promote governance structures and processes which serve the interests of those most disadvantaged.

20. Transparency and accountability in the reporting and evaluation of Australian international aid spending to maximise program delivery.

21. The removal of any discrimination against small non-government organisations in Australia’s funding and tendering processes.

22. Development assistance programs should be independently evaluated and delivered within an appropriate time frame.

23. A  legislated framework to provide greater Parliamentary oversight of the development assistance budget.

24. Support for codes of conduct in the sector, including for prevention of and responding to sexual harassment.

25. Robust consultation when designing new development assistance programs.  

26. Support for women’s leadership and decision-making in all aspects of Australian international development programs with a focus on addressing the particular needs and challenges facing women and girls.

(International Development Assistance Policy as renamed and amended by Special National Conference August 2020.)