Overview of Australia's assistance for governance

How we are helping

Australia’s approach is outlined in Effective Governance: Strategy for Australia’s aid investments. This strategy guides our official aid expenditure in governance, and supports our program teams to make informed investment choices within their respective global, regional or country level allocations for 2015-16 and beyond.

Why we give aid

Where governance is poor, development outcomes are also poor. Ineffective governance lies at the heart of most development challenges in our partner countries. It takes many forms, including barriers to justice and pervasive corruption, and is often a key driver of conflict and state fragility.

Governance affects virtually all aspects of a country’s prosperity. An effective public sector and functioning, predictable institutions provide the foundations for economic growth, private sector investment and trade. Well-functioning institutions generate revenue and redistribute income. They provide stability and maintain law and order by ensuring disputes among citizens are settled peacefully and fairly. They deliver and implement appropriate policies in fields such as education and health, and deliver services that are essential for building a skilled, productive and healthy workforce.

How we give aid

Australia will focus on supporting the building of institutions that have a direct role to play in promoting stability, inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction, and in strengthening gender equality and women’s empowerment. We will work with civil society and the private sector to strengthen environments in our partner countries in which citizens and organisations can make legitimate demands of their governments. We will:

  • build institutions that support private sector growth, including those that strengthen the credibility of the macro-economic framework, ensure a more transparent and efficient regulatory framework for business, fight corruption, and provide predictable and credible property rights
  • support efforts to build a broad and well-balanced tax base in our partner countries
  • improve the transparency and accountability of extractives-related revenues in partner countries
  • reform institutions to strengthen regulation and delivery of public services and deliver more representative and accountable government
  • build effective law and justice systems, drawing on the Australian Federal Police and Attorney-General’s Department, to strengthen policing, increase the safety and security of communities, improve people’s access to justice, and address violence against women
  • contribute to peace-building initiatives in conflict-affected areas to address long-standing grievances and other drivers of conflict.

Across all aid program investments, Australia will tailor support to the political context. This will require an understanding of what is politically feasible and economically desirable. Through high quality political economy analysis, we will identify the constraints to growth, including the underlying blockages and power structures that affect growth and development in each country. Such analysis will be particularly important in addressing development challenges in fragile and conflict affected situations, including unequal access to the benefits of economic growth and employment, political alienation and a sense of injustice, all of which can lead to conflict.

Australia’s diplomatic and aid program efforts will foster country-led reform initiatives and assist local champions implement workable solutions to local development problems, recognising these will be more legitimate and durable than solutions introduced from outside. Australia is uniquely placed within the region to support local innovation and reform processes, assisted through the provision of specialist technical advice, where needed.

Australia’s diplomats will seek to understand the influences, interests and institutions that exist in our partner countries and respond flexibly where there are strong leaders and reform opportunities. Where appropriate, we will take an incremental approach, pursuing opportunities as they arise.

Governance initiatives

Last Updated: 30 September 2015
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An effective public sector and functioning, predictable institutions provide the foundations for economic growth, private sector investment and trade.