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Australia’s development program

  • Stopping COVID-19 outbreaks for our neighbours using Australian wastewater testing know-how

    Surveillance of our wastewater, sewage and stormwater for traces of SARS-CoV-2 is something most Australians are now used to. Since October 2020 Australia has been sharing it with our neighbours in Southeast Asia.

  • Keeping neighbouring farmers safe to secure our region’s economic recovery

    “I had no idea about this new disease that people were talking about. When I read that it was caused by a virus and that it was already among us, I thought we were going to drop dead like chickens everywhere,”

  • Helping our neighbouring coffee farmers recover from the impact of global shutdowns

    As coffee shops and cafes across Australia and the world grind to a halt with pandemic stay-at-home orders – what happens to the coffee yields of farmers across our region?

  • Stopping COVID-19 outbreaks for our neighbours using Australian wastewater testing know-how

  • Keeping neighbouring farmers safe to secure our region’s economic recovery

  • Helping our neighbouring coffee farmers recover from the impact of global shutdowns

The world is grappling with the triple challenges of climate change, COVID-19 recovery and deteriorating global economic conditions.

For the first time in more than 20 years, the number of people living in extreme poverty has increased. Women and girls have been most impacted, with almost half a billion now living below the poverty line. Global food insecurity means over 800 million people go to bed hungry each night.

Australia is determined to play its part in supporting sustainable development – particularly in our region, where 22 of our 26 nearest neighbours are developing countries.

We will get the most from our development program by listening to our neighbours and building genuine partnerships founded on mutual trust, respect and reliability.

We will draw on Australia's national strengths to deliver high quality, transparent and accountable assistance to the region.

We will leverage our institutions, culture, regional ties, economy and expertise – including the knowledge and perspectives of First Nations Australians. And we will enhance our effectiveness through practical support for gender equality, disability inclusion and human rights.

We will also draw on our partnerships beyond development – utilising our economic, diplomatic and security connections – to build a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, where sovereignty is respected.

By working with multilateral organisations and likeminded partners, we will magnify our collective impact. Together we will contribute to achieving our collective commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.

New development policy

Australia is committed to an effective, targeted and generous development program, that advances our shared interest in a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

The Government has commissioned a new policy to set the long-term direction for Australia's international development engagement. The policy will incorporate findings from DFAT's Development Finance Review. The review will present options to support new and modern partnerships that address shared problems facing our region, helping Australia remain a relevant partner of choice for the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Development investments

Australia's development investments help make us stronger and more influential in the world. The comprehensive suite of measures linked to Australia's Official Development Assistance (ODA) significantly bolster the nation's competitiveness, security and relationships at a time of global uncertainty.

Australia provides detailed information on the objectives, results and impacts of our ODA investments. For more information read DFAT’s Transparency Statement.

2022-23 Budget highlights

  • Australia is providing an additional $900 million in ODA to the Pacific over four years to increase support to the Pacific family's development and resilience.
  • ODA funding to support Southeast Asia will also increase. The Government will provide an additional $470 million to Southeast Asia over the next four years. This reflects the importance of Australia's engagement in this region to ensure our shared security, economic strength and to shape our world for the better.
  • The Government has allocated an additional $30 million in funding to the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) over the next four years. This will support accredited Australian non-government organisations (NGOs) to deliver projects to promote sustainable development.

For detailed ODA budget information see the Development Budget Summary 2022-23.

Development priorities


Australia will deliver a comprehensive package of development programs that respond to the Pacific family's priorities and needs.

Assistance to the Pacific will support recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 and broader economic, health, education, social and climate change outcomes for the region.

Australia is supporting Pacific economies to grow, unlock opportunities and boost connectivity to priority sectors. This includes doubling the grant funding for the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP). This means the Pacific and Timor-Leste can now access a total of $4 billion in AIFFP finance and there are additional funds to strengthen project and risk management capabilities.

paramedics training students in Vanuatu
Providing training to student paramedics in Vanuatu. Source: Australian Volunteers Program/DFAT

Southeast Asia

Deepening Australia's engagement with Southeast Asia is a top priority for the Government. We want a region that is peaceful and prosperous, where all states can make their own sovereign choices.

Australia will work with our Southeast Asian partners to tackle this period of change together. The new Office of Southeast Asia will lead and coordinate our whole-of-Government efforts. We will advance our ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, guided by the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.

Assistance to Southeast Asia includes a new $200 million climate and infrastructure partnership with Indonesia, focusing on climate and finance infrastructure, disaster mitigation and renewable energy.

Greenhouses with growing vegetables in the Savannakhet region
Helping manage various small-holder farms with greenhouses for growing vegetables in the Savannakhet region. Photo: Teagan Glenane/Australian Volunteers Program/DFAT

Climate change and environment

Australia recognises that climate change is the greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of our closest neighbours in the Indo-Pacific. The Government is taking real and ambitious action to address climate change at home and in our region. Australia supports development programs that directly combat climate change, improve the environment and strengthen the resilience of food systems.

Rice farmers from Sleman district threshing rice.
Rice farmers from Sleman district threshing rice, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Photo: Harjono Djoyobisono/Australian Volunteers Program/DFAT


Global humanitarian needs continue to grow. Where disaster impacts exceed a country's capacity to respond, Australia stands ready to assist. We have a long history of supporting our partners to respond to, and prepare for, humanitarian disasters. We recognise the importance of preventing and reducing the impact of disasters before they occur.

Map of the world indicating key humanitarian responses since May 2022.    $1 million Afghanistan earthquake. $5 million Pakistan food assistance. $500 thousand Tuvalu drought assistance. $1 million Kiribati drought assistance. $15 million Horn of Africa and Yemen food security and famine relief.
Key humanitarian responses in our region since May 2022

COVID-19 recovery

Managing the health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19 remain's a shared challenge for our region.

Australia is supporting its neighbours to strengthen health security and build more resilient health systems that are better prepared for future pandemics. This includes preventing, detecting and responding to emerging infectious disease outbreaks, while ensuring continuity of essential health services

We are also supporting the region's economic recovery. Our assistance to the Indo-Pacific ensures essential services continue. Australia's budget support, through grants and loans, is also helping address ongoing budgetary needs of our closest neighbours.

Gender equality and disability Inclusion

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is a key objective of Australia's development program. The Government has reintroduced an 80 per cent performance target to ensure Australia's development investments effectively address gender equality, including mandating that those over $3 million have a gender equality objective. Australia will continue to drive improvements to ensure women and girls benefit from Australian assistance.

Australia remains a global leader on disability inclusion and rights. We work to ensure people with disabilities are engaged in, and benefit from, Australia's assistance, which is crucial for social cohesion and maximising economic growth.

Civil society engagement

Australia recognises the invaluable work NGOs and civil society organisations play in supporting sustainable development. Australian NGOs help build vital relationships between communities in Australia and across our region. They promote sustainable, locally-led development in partner countries and bolster domestic support for Australia's development program. Australia's funding to the ANCP over the next four years will increase the minimum grant for all ANCP organisations.

Our performance

Australia has continued to support the Indo-Pacific region to respond to COVID-19. The performance system that underpins our development program helps us track changes in the region and report on the annual results and effectiveness of Australia's COVID-19 response efforts.

COVID-19 Development Response plans set out expected outcomes, key results and supporting investments at regional and country level, and we have clear performance measures for global programs and multilateral organisations.

We report overall progress with implementation via Tier 2 results and through the DFAT Annual Report. We also report annual progress against country and regional COVID-19 Development Response Plans.

The performance of the multilateral organisations we work with are periodically reviewed. Each year DFAT publishes an Annual Development Evaluation Plan and investment-level evaluations of progress and outcomes.

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