Overseas Aid


The Australian Greens believe that:

  1. Australia has a responsibility to contribute to ending global poverty, fostering human rights, promoting gender equality, enhancing self-reliance, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals.
  2. Australia must contribute to humanitarian emergency relief where people become vulnerable and suffer because of natural disasters or social conflict.
  3. Australia has an obligation, particularly as a wealthy country, to encourage positive and equitable change in the social, economic and environmental conditions for citizens of developing nations.
  4. All aid programs should be consistent with a human rights-based approach to development, be economically and environmentally sustainable, should promote local participation and gender equality and empowerment, and enhance the political, economic and social rights of the recipient communities.
  5. Aid effectiveness requires development strategies and programs that are designed with and accountable to people living in poverty.
  6. The human rights and self-determination of women should be placed at the centre of Australian aid programs.
  7. Aid should contribute to a world free from structural inequalities, where people can determine their own futures, and where trade and debt no longer exploit peoples, but instead promote environmental and social justice.
  8. Australia’s aid funding should prioritise bilateral aid, United Nations programs and global health, education and environment initiatives over international financial institutions and the private sector.
  9. Emergency relief to save lives and alleviate suffering of vulnerable people during social conflicts and natural disasters should be provided:
    1. with impartiality and based solely on need;
    2. with neutrality, not favouring either 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.
  10. Aid programs should not be used to influence the democratic preferences of any nation.
  11. Existing or projected funding for Australia’s aid program should not be cut by governments of the day to redress budget shortfalls.
  12. Australia must provide climate finance to developing countries commensurate with its wealth and historical contribution to the problem


The Australian Greens want:

  1. A focus in Australia’s aid program on working with developing countries to alleviating poverty through the promotion of equality, justice and humanitarian principles.
  2. An increase in the level of Australian overseas aid to a minimum of 0.7% of GNI phased in over time, as mandated by the United Nations, with provision for additional increases in the event of natural disasters or conflicts requiring major humanitarian interventions.
  3. Full delivery on Australia’s overseas aid commitments to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  4. Transparency and accountability in the purpose and impact of all aid programs, to both the Australian people and the communities and countries the programs are designed to benefit. This includes ensuring governance structures and processes to promote access to human rights for those communities.
  5. A non-commercial aid program. Aid must not be used as a means of subsidising Australian business.
  6. Long-term aid programs that combat climate change as an integral part of their poverty elimination strategy.
  7. 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.
  8. The establishment of AusAID as an independent department with its own cabinet-level minister, separate from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
  9. Environmental, social, gender, age, diversity and disability impact statements for all aid programs.
  10. International aspects of Australian policies on trade, economic and social issues that are consistent with, and contributing towards, global poverty alleviation goals.
  11. The Australian government to recognise and support the valuable role of non-government aid organisations in providing critical analysis and scrutiny of the aid program.
  12. Selection of implementing agencies for the aid program based on their effective, inclusive participatory approach.
  13. Foreign aid directed to programs designed to raise the status of women and other disadvantaged groups in all areas of social and economic life.
  14. An increased funding focus on strengthening health systems to address sexual and reproductive health, and the prevention and consequences of HIV-AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and  other  diseases.
  15. Targeted assistance, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, for climate change adaptation measures, so communities can remain in their own countries and maintain cultural cohesion.
  16. Australian government agencies organised, trained and resourced to carry out effective overseas relief work, collaborating with Australian non-government organisations in building their emergency response capacity.
  17. Collaboration with developing countries in disaster-prone areas to reduce their vulnerability and the impact of disasters, enhancing the capacity of both governments and local non-government organisations.
  18. The inclusion of 'good governance' activities within the aid program which promote governance structures and processes which serve the interests of those most disadvantaged.
  19. The removal of any discrimination against small non-government organisations in Australia’s funding and tendering processes.
  20. No discrimination against vulnerable groups in Australia's aid program.
  21. A legislated framework for aid to provide greater Parliamentary oversight of the aid budget.

[Policy endorsed: November 2017]