The Department

Freedom of Information


Within AusAID, the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services Unit manages freedom of information activities. Written requests can be addressed to:

Freedom of Information Coordinator

Ministerial and Parliamentary Services Unit


GPO Box 887

Canberra ACT 2601

tel (02) 6206 4617


In carrying out the functions of the Agency, AusAID exercises the following powers:

  • authorising expenditure on Australia’s overseas aid program and administer this program, including:
    • authorising provision of financial support for international organisations
    • inviting tenders and arranging contracts for the supply of goods and services under the aid program
    • extending official financial support to overseas trainees and students in Australia
    • selecting consultants to provide services to implement bilateral aid projects overseas
    • selecting educational organisations to manage training courses in Australia for overseas students
    • accrediting NGOs and allocating funding for NGOs on a competitive basis
    • undertaking appraisals, reviews and evaluations of development cooperation activities
  • administering development cooperation activities and programs, including:
    • authorising the provision of financial support for international organisations
    • inviting tenders, selecting consultants and contractors to provide services to implement development cooperation activities
    • offering scholarships to approved, qualified overseas students to the agreed country level
    • monitoring contracted institutions’ administration of long-term training awards
    • selecting organisations to manage customised training courses in Australia for overseas students
    • accrediting NGOs and allocating funding for NGOs on a competitive basis
    • undertaking appraisals, reviews and evaluations of development cooperation activities.

Community, Business, Academic and Public Participation/Consultation

AusAID consults with a wide range of community, business and academic organisations. Its vehicles for consultation include:

  • the Aid Advisory Council, chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, draws members from academia, business, religious organisations and the non-government sector and meets three times a year to advise the Minister on aid and development issues
  • the Advisory Group on International Health provides advice and support to AusAID and the Department of Health
  • the AusAID/ NGO Committee for Development Cooperation provides advice on NGO accreditation and accountability
  • annual AusAID/ NGO consultations in August/ September provided a forum for general discussion of policy issues and matters of mutual interest
  • the AusAID Executive meets several times per year with the Executive of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid (ACFOA). AusAID officers also meet with NGO representatives on various ACFOA policy and geographic committees
  • the AusAID/ NGO Gender and Development Consultations occur biannually with representatives from relevant areas of policy and operations within AusAID and NGOs invited by ACFOA. The consultations are a forum to discuss current issues affecting gender and development
  • AusAID/ NGO Consultations on Environment and Development provide an opportunity three times per year for dialogue between AusAID, environment-related consultants and environment and development NGOs on environment policy and program issues in the aid program
  • AusAID participates in the biannual environment consultations between business and NGO representatives and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for the Environment
  • AusAID participates three times per year in DFAT’s regular consultations with the Australian NGO community on human rights issues. These aim to inform the NGO community about actions the Government is taking to promote human rights internationally, as well as provide an opportunity for NGOs to raise particular issues
  • the Private Sector Linkages Program Advisory Committee meets several times throughout the year to assess applications for funding
  • AusAID, DFAT and the Australia Papua New Guinea Business Council consultations occur regularly on relations with Papua New Guinea including the aid program.

Consultation and Contact with the Business Community

AusAID, as part of its efforts to ensure the quality and consistency of contracts awarded, created a senior management position responsible for the Agency’s overall contracting functions. As the position also is responsible for consultation and liaison with businesses delivering Australia’s aid program, the officer undertook an extensive program of consultation with firms, individuals and the consulting industry to improve the overall quality of Australia’s aid projects.

AusAID delivered a series of public seminars to provide information on the aid program and promote opportunities for Australian firms and individuals to become involved in its delivery overseas. It held most of these seminars in conjunction with a presentation by the Parliamentary Secretary, Kathy Sullivan, on the Government’s aid statement Better Aid for a Better Future which included a response to the Simons Review.

AusAID participated in some major business-focused events including:

  • International Business Week (in October in Adelaide)
  • the UN/ World Bank Procurement Conference (in November in Sydney).

AusAID continued to produce a range of publications to inform the Australian community about private sector participation in the aid program including:

  • Business News (incorporated since March into AusAID’s quarterly magazine, Focus)
  • Business Participation in AusAID’s Aid Program 1996-97
  • Contracting Out: Contracting for Australian Aid.

AusAID Documents

AusAID produces a wide range of documents concerning the administration of the aid program including:

  • submissions to portfolio ministers, the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the Director General, the AusAID Executive and other government agencies
  • ministerial and departmental correspondence and replies
  • texts of speeches and press statements on aid matters
  • briefs, reports, related documents and electronic records on international, third country and Australian aspects of aid policy issues
  • treaties, memorandums of understanding, exchanges of letters and other agreements between the Australian Government and other governments on aid matters
  • cabinet submissions, memorandums and decisions
  • briefings for ministers on possible parliamentary questions
  • records of parliamentary-related business, such as responses to parliamentary questions on notice, legislation matters, briefings for parliamentary delegations and submissions to parliamentary inquires and committee reports
  • documents and electronic records relating to financial management, including accounting and budget planning documents
  • personnel management documents and records
  • documents relating to strategies and corporate planning
  • documents and materials relating to staff development and training
  • office procedure and information circulars outlining policies and procedures relating to implementing the aid program.

AusAID Public Affairs Publications

AusAID produces a range of publications aimed at increasing community awareness and understanding of the aid program. Publications range from general information on aid programs to detailed reviews aimed at specialist audiences.

Key publications include:

  • Focus -a quarterly magazine aims at making Australia’s overseas aid program more widely known and encourages discussion on development issues
  • Better Aid for A Better Future -this is the seventh annual report to the Parliament on Australia’s development cooperation program
  • The 1998-99 Budget Statement: Australia’s Overseas Aid Program
  • Contracting Out: Contracting for Australian Aid
  • Global Partners -Working in Partnership with People in Developing Countries.

AusAID publications are available on AusAID’s Internet site at or from our distributor:


GPO Box 4

Canberra ACT 2601

tel (02) 6249 2479 fax (02) 6257 5088


Publications are also on display and can be picked up from:



Cnr of Daley Road and Barry Drive

Acton ACT 2601

AusAID publications are listed in Appendix 7.

Freedom of Information DFAT

Return to List of Appendices

Return to Table of Contents

This page last modified: Tuesday, 16-Sep-2003 13:10:38 EST

Local Date: Friday, 30-Jan-2015 01:20:23 EST