The Australian Government’s new approach to overseas development assistance will focus on ways to drive economic growth in developing nations and create pathways out of poverty.

Strict performance benchmarks will ensure aid spending is accountable to tax payers and achieve results.

In recent years the world has changed and traditional approaches to aid are no longer good enough, and aid alone is no panacea for poverty.

The most effective and proven way to reduce poverty is to promote sustainable economic growth. Under the Coalition Government, Australia’s aid funding will go to creating jobs, boosting incomes and increasing economic security in our region.

Under this new policy, new aid investments will consider ways to engage the private sector and promote private sector growth. Aid for trade investments will be increased to 20 per cent of the aid budget by 2020.

The policy will focus on the Indo-Pacific region, with over 90 per cent of country and regional program funding spent in our neighbourhood, the Indo-Pacific, because this is where we can make the most difference.

The aid program will invest heavily in education and health, as well as disaster risk reduction and humanitarian crises. Improving education and health outcomes is essential to laying a foundation for economic development. $30 million each year will go toward researching ways to make the money we spend on health more effective and to promote medical breakthroughs.

As part of our new aid policy, Australia’s aid investments will be required to address women’s empowerment in their implementation. Society benefits from women’s full participation in economic, political and social life.

Over four years $140 million will be provided to trial and test innovation in development assistance. Australia will be a founding partner in the Global Development Innovation Ventures program—an international program supported by the US and the UK that will identify, test and scale up successful new approaches to development.

I have also established a new development innovation hub in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to engage creative thinkers from inside and outside the public sector, from Australia and overseas, to look at new ways to deliver aid.

New performance benchmarks and mutual obligations with partner governments will assess the performance of our country programs and inform future funding decisions.

Each country and regional program will develop an Aid Investment Plan which will outline how aid dollars are used to promote economic growth in ways that provide pathways out of poverty.

I aim to focus on fewer, larger investments, to increase the impact and effectiveness of our aid.

Australia will continue to be one of the world’s most generous aid donors with a responsible, affordable and sustainable aid budget of over $5 billion a year.

Australia’s new aid paradigm represents a significant and positive policy shift that reflects our commitment to economic growth, poverty reduction and increased standards of living in developing nations in our region.

This will make a positive difference to standards of living in our region and beyond.

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