Overview of Australia's aid program to Tonga

How we are helping

2014/15 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$17.6 million

2015/16 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$17.6 million

2015/16 Total Australian ODA Estimate
$31.4 million

DFAT will manage an estimated $17.6 million in bilateral funding to Tonga in 2015-16. Total Australian Official Development Assistance to Tonga in 2015-16 will be an estimated $31.4 million.

In 2013-14, Australia was Tonga’s largest development partner. Foreign development assistance, such as Australia’s, is a critical component of Tonga’s economic and social infrastructure development. Open dialogue with the Tongan Government and a coordinated approach with other donors are vital to the success of the program.

Australia’s aid program to Tonga focuses on:

  • maintaining economic stability and implementing agreed economic reforms
  • improving access to quality health and education services
  • increasing economic opportunities by improving technical and vocational skills
  • upgrading infrastructure to promote economic development and improve people’s lives.

Tonga has achieved high standards against many of the Millennium Development Goals, but the Tongan people face increasing health problems, particularly the rise in non-communicable diseases which will increasingly burden the economy. There are limited employment opportunities in Tonga, especially for youth.

Our results

In recent years there have been improvements in economic reform; gender equity reform; and the implementation of health, education and infrastructure programs.

  • With continued support from Australia and other donors, Tonga has introduced economic reforms that have returned the budget to surplus, reduced debt and increased revenue performance.
  • Upgrades of four health centers improved health facilities and services for around 2,208 households.
  • Australian volunteer surgeons performed vital surgery on 166 patients in 2013.
  • 222 Tongan students (including 130 women) graduated from the Australia Pacific Technical College between 2008 and 2013.
  • DFAT funded maintenance and rehabilitation of 55 schools throughout Tonga in 2012 and in 2013 trained 48 teachers.
  • 462km of road was maintained from January 2012 to June 2014, creating almost 20,000 person hours of work for the local contracting industry which the World Bank and Australia helped establish through the Tonga Transport Sector Consolidation Project.
  • Australia also contributed to the emergency response to Tropical Cyclone Ian which hit Tonga’s outer islands in January 2014 causing one death and economic losses estimated at around $55 million.
Detailed records of Tongan customs kept at the Nuku'alofa port office (credit: DFAT).
Members of a road works team repair roads around the main island of Tongaptu, Tonga (credit: DFAT).
Students with a disability take part in activities at Ngele'ia Primary School in Nuku'alofa, Tonga (credit: DFAT).
Lola Koloa'Matangi, a counsellor at Tonga National Centre for Women and Children, talks with a woman who has been the victim of abuse by her partner (credit: DFAT).