Launch of Australia's New Development Policy

  • Speech, check against delivery

Good afternoon, thank you Penny, Jan and Rod.

I too acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we gather today, and elders, past and present.

I also acknowledge members of the diplomatic corps, parliamentary colleagues and representatives from the development sector who play such an important role in development efforts around the world.

As the Foreign Minister has said, Australia's development program is a vital tool for advancing a peaceful, stable and prosperous region.

The world and our region have never been more connected.

Our region's resilience and success are in all our interests.

That is why we are so committed to working with our neighbours to alleviate poverty, strengthen their resilience and help achieve their development aspirations.

We have committed an additional $1.7 billion in new development assistance since the Albanese Government was elected, just over one year ago—as well as sustainable year on year growth over the longer term.

Australia knows we aren't the only player in international development.

But the way we go about development assistance is unique.

I like to describe our approach to development assistance in five ways:

  • It is based on the priorities of our partners
  • We are transparent
  • It is not transactional
  • We use every opportunity to drive local employment, procurement and skills development, and
  • It is a high-quality offering.

All of this is central to the implementation of our new International Development Policy, which we launch today.

Through this policy and its accompanying performance and delivery framework, the Albanese Government will improve the quality and effectiveness of our development investments.

And central to this is strengthening our in-house development capability – the knowledge, skills and tools to address the wide-ranging needs of our region...

…As well as strengthening partnerships: with governments and communities, with NGOs, experts, the private sector and multilateral organisations to increase our impact.

We also recognise the potential of the Government's development program to catalyse other sources of funding for positive impact around the region.

So, I am delighted to share today, the results of the Development Finance Review that was one of our election commitments.

We will implement the Development Finance Review's recommendations, adding to our development financing toolkit.

This comes with a responsibility to deliver financing that delivers high quality development impact, and doesn't burden our neighbours with unmanageable debt.

As recommended by the Review, we are significantly increasing the blended finance capability of the development program by establishing Australian Development Investments. This will be a new vehicle providing up to $250 million as a catalyst for private impact investment in the Indo-Pacific.

ADI will build on the Emerging Market Impact Investment Fund pilot program. This proved the enormous potential of blending government finance with the private sector to generate social and environmental impact alongside financial returns.

Multilateral development banks, supported by Australia, also have a vital role to play.

We are focused on supporting reforms so the banks can deliver innovative forms of finance and high-quality, climate-resilient infrastructure...

...that maximises use of local content and employment with long-term maintenance guarantees.

Importantly, the new policy, the Development Finance Review and our new performance framework all recognise the need to look beyond Government to achieve the development aspirations of the region. We will do this on several fronts.

Firstly, civil society is a critical focus in our policy.

That is why we will design a new Civil Society Partnerships Fund, alongside the longstanding Australian NGO Cooperation Program.

Secondly, by releasing the Development Finance Review today alongside our policy, we are ready to invest alongside others and amplify our development impact together.

This is why we will establish a dedicated unit in DFAT to work more closely with philanthropic organisations and impact investors.

And finally, we want this policy and the Development Finance Review to serve as a signpost to Australian institutions and entities operating in the region to guide engagement that supports positive development impact.

In recognising just how much our future is tied to the region around us, this should be a whole-of-nation effort.

We are on a journey to re-build our development program into one which works better to:

  • improve the lives of people in our developing country partners
  • advance our mutual interests in a peaceful and prosperous region, and
  • embody Australia's values and reflect who we are.

A journey that is marked today with the launch of this new policy.

Thank you.

Media enquiries

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