Promoting and protecting Australia's interests abroad

Media release

10 May 2011

The operations of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade remain at the core of the Gillard Government's commitment to protect and promote Australia's interests abroad.

The 2011-12 Budget will ensure the Department can continue to support Australia's role in regional and global affairs, including its vital role in combating people smuggling and providing consular services.

The Government donated $10 million to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The donation will be made to the Japan Red Cross and Pacific Disaster Appeal who will provide emergency relief, equipment and assistance to affected communities and families in Japan.

The Government has committed $4 million for one year to supplement DFAT's current funding for the delivery of consular services. This will enhance the Department's capacity to support and assist Australians overseas to protect their welfare, given the increasing numbers of Australians who are now travelling abroad. 

$9 million over two years will be invested for the delivery of regional initiatives to prevent people smuggling. This funding, part of a cross-government initiative, provides for the continuation of critical preventative measures, including the Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues and a support unit dedicated to regional outreach and engagement.

It also provides for dedicated positions at Australia's overseas missions in transit countries, and allows for the implementation of the regional cooperation framework agreed by ministers at the Fourth Bali Process Ministerial Conference in March 2011.

This includes the development of bilateral and multilateral arrangements to undermine and deter people smuggling; the targeting of people smuggling enterprises through coordinated border security arrangements; and strengthening of information and intelligence sharing.

The Gillard Government has also committed $16.5 million to complete the transition to a full civilian-based security presence at the Australian Embassy in Baghdad from November 2011. This reflects the normalisation of the security environment in Iraq and allows for Defence personnel and resources to be re-deployed to other high priority locations.

The Department will contribute $0.5 million over three years as part of $2 million in funding by the Government towards the cost of a major three-year study of the Australia-United States alliance by the United States Study Centre at the University of Sydney.

For further details, see www.budget.gov.au

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555