BY DONALD HOOK
AUSTRALIA’S FOREIGN MINISTER Kevin Rudd has announced reforms to Australia’s aid program to ensure it is strategic, more transparent and gets real results.
He says the Australian government is determined to ensure every aid dollar makes a real difference to the lives of the world’s poorest people.
Mr Rudd was welcoming the findings of an independent review he commissioned to focus on aid effectiveness, take a comprehensive look at the management and quality of Australia’s aid, and give direction to the future of the government’s aid program.
The government has agreed, or agreed in principle, to 38 of the 39 recommendations made. “These are the most far-reaching changes to our aid program in more than a decade,” he said.
Mr Rudd said that making a difference - delivering real results - outlined the government’s response.
“Decisive action will be taken when aid programs are found to be not performing. The transparency of the aid program will be strengthened through a new Transparency Charter under which accurate and up to date results on all aid projects will be published.”
Mr Rudd says there will be more opportunities for Australians to become involved with the aid program, including more volunteers and closer links with business and community groups.
He added that Australia would continue to focus its aid efforts on close neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region, with Indonesia and PNG remaining the largest recipients.