Overview of Australia's aid program to Cambodia

How we are helping

2014/15 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$52.4 million

2015/16 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$52.4 million

2015/16 Total Australian ODA Estimate
$79.1 million

DFAT will manage an estimated $52.4 million in bilateral funding to Cambodia in 2015-16.  An additional $10.0 million will be provided in 2015-16 in line with Australia and Cambodia’s agreement on refugee resettlement. Total Australian Official Development Assistance to Cambodia in 2015-16 will be an estimated $79.1 million.

Australia is the fourth largest bilateral donor to Cambodia and has a strong diplomatic relationship underpinned by our longstanding support for peace and development. A stable and prosperous Cambodia is in Australia’s strategic and economic interests. It is important that Cambodia can contribute to regional economic growth and play an active role in managing trans-boundary issues, such as drug-trafficking, pandemics and transnational crime.

Cambodia has made considerable progress in raising living standards but remains one of the poorest countries in East Asia. About 20 per cent of the population lives in poverty and a similar proportion sit just above the poverty line. While Cambodia has made important strides towards achieving its Millennium Development Goals, huge challenges remain.

Australia is helping Cambodia continue its progress towards being a prosperous, stable and democratic nation in South East Asia. Australian support to Cambodia is targeted at increasing economic growth through investments in infrastructure, health, agricultural productivity and education. The program has a particular focus on reducing violence against women and improving their economic opportunities. Australia is also a long standing partner in strengthening the justice system in Cambodia.

Agriculture and rural development

The Cambodia Agricultural Value Chain program (CAVAC) is increasing the value of rice-based agricultural production and smallholder income in three provinces – Kampong Thom, Kampot and Takeo. CAVAC is constructing and rehabilitating irrigation schemes and providing farmers with access to agricultural inputs such as fertilisers, pesticides and training in modern farming techniques.

Australia also supports a multi-donor project to clear mines and other explosive remnants of war and release cleared land for productive use.

Agriculture and rural development assistance in Cambodia


Australia remains the largest bilateral donor assisting the Cambodian Government to deliver essential health care, particularly to poor and marginalised groups; is partnering with non-government organisations to improve reproductive, maternal and neonatal care in remote provinces; and is supporting a regional HIV/AIDS program.

Health assistance in Cambodia


Improved infrastructure is essential for Cambodia’s economic growth. Australia is supporting the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges and other infrastructure, and our contribution to rehabilitating the railway has enabled frequent freight services to operate between Phnom Penh and the seaport of Sihanoukville.

Infrastructure assistance in Cambodia

Law and justice and violence against women

Australia has provided significant assistance to the law and justice sector in Cambodia through the Cambodia Community Justice Assistance Partnership and is committed to ending the high rates of sexual and domestic violence against women in Cambodia through the Ending Violence Against Women program.

Australia also continues to support the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and contributed $3.25 million in 2014.

Law and justice and violence against women assistance in Cambodia

Disability Rights Initiative Cambodia

Australia is a long-term supporter of disability-inclusive development in Cambodia. Since 2004, Australia has implemented a practical approach to meeting the needs and priorities of people with disability and ensuring they benefit from development projects through its aid program. Australia has consolidated its support for disability-inclusive development into one new single, larger, longer-term program—the Disability Rights Initiative Cambodia.

Disability Rights Initiative Cambodia

Australia Awards

Since 1994, over 500 scholarships have been provided for Cambodians to undertake postgraduate study in Australia, with a 94 per cent successful completion rate.

In 2013-14, 55 scholarships were awarded for the 2014 intake (19 for females), 20 for the public sector and 30 for the open category. Five of these Australia Awards Scholarship recipients are also participating in the Australia Awards Leadership Program in addition to their scholarship.

Achieving 50 per cent female awardees continues to be a key challenge for the Australia Awards in Cambodia. Three of the priority sectors for scholarships (agriculture, infrastructure, law & justice) are not traditionally areas that attract high numbers of female applicants. However, the larger barrier is the lower female completion rates of secondary and tertiary education and the cultural barriers for women leaving extended family to pursue education abroad.

Many scholarship graduates occupy a range of senior and influential positions in Cambodia, including 78 senior officials (Deputy Director and above) across 26 national and provincial level government agencies; chancellors and vice chancellors at universities; and CEOs of private sector and civil society enterprises.

The Australia Awards Alumni Association is a productive and supportive partner of the Australia Awards Scholarships with a large and growing membership. In 2013-14, with the support of the Australian aid program, the Association holds a range of professional development and networking activities aimed at enhancing the people-to-people, organisation and institutional linkages created through the scholarships program.

Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID)

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is working in partnership with Australian Volunteers International, Scope Global and Australian Red Cross in delivering the Australian Volunteers for International Development program. Australian volunteers play a vital role in the fight against poverty and make a considerable contribution to the achievement of the Government’s public diplomacy objectives. Volunteering overseas is one way that Australians can make a positive contribution to poverty reduction, sustainable development and cross-cultural understanding.

Australian volunteers come from a diverse range of backgrounds and include women and men aged from 18 to 80 years. Australian volunteers have varying professional backgrounds which enable them to work on a range of activities including setting up medical clinics so that women can give birth safely, building stronger homes to withstand natural disasters and helping children with disabilities to get to school.

In 2013-2014, DFAT deployed a total of 162 volunteers to Cambodia including 74 new volunteers. In 2014-15, a total of 141 volunteers are planned to be supported, including 58 new volunteers.

Our results

  • Australia is supporting the Cambodian Government’s second Health Strategic Plan 2008-2015 assisting the Cambodian Ministry of Health to improve health outcomes in Cambodia. In 2014, 84 per cent of births were attended by trained health staff (up from 71 per cent in 2010) and 93 per cent of poor people were able to access subsidised health care services.
  • In 2013-14 the Cambodia Agricultural Value Chain program (CAVAC) rehabilitated or constructed seven irrigation schemes. This allowed an estimated additional 3,897 hectares of land to be irrigated which will enable 4,221 families to grow more than one rice crop a year.
  • We have contributed to the completion of the trial in Case 1 and the first trial in Case 2 of the Khmer Rouge Trials (the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia).
  • 500 women and girls experiencing violence have received counselling, legal aid, medical services or shelter as well as being assisted to reintegrate with their families and communities.
  • During 2013, 17.33 square kilometres of land were cleared and released for productive use under the multi-donor Clearing for Results Phase 2 project. Mine clearance operators found and destroyed 4,508 mines and other explosive remnants of war. Landmine casualties decreased from 39 in 2012 to 13 in 2013.
  • In 2013-14, 55 scholarships were awarded for the 2014 intake (19 for females), 20 for the public sector and 30 for the open category. Five of these Australia Awards Scholarship recipients are also participating in the Australia Awards Leadership Program in addition to their scholarship.

An irrigation barrier, Campong Chhnang, Cambodia (credit: DFAT).
An explanation of HIVAIDS and how it is transmitted being given by then volunteer Aaron Watson (credit: DFAT).
Mak Moa Nang is a teacher at Krola Primary School. She has been teaching for six years (credit: CARE Australia).