Footnote(s): (a) Year ending 30 June. Constant prices based at 2007-08 derived using ABS non-farm implicit price deflators.
Source(s): AusAID Statistical Summary 2005-06, 2006-07 & 2007-08 (Green Book)
As a member of the global community, Australia contributes aid for communities overseas both in monetary terms and in terms of providing expertise. The Australian Government's official development assistance or aid program aims to assist developing countries in reducing poverty and in achieving sustainable development consistent with Australia's national interest (AusAID 2010).
Official development assistance (ODA) is a statistic compiled by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to measure aid. The DAC first compiled the statistic in 1969. It is widely used by academics and journalists as a convenient indicator of international aid flow.
Australia's ODA totalled $3.2b in 2007-08, representing 0.3% of Gross National Income (GNI). Although Australia's ODA has nearly doubled in constant-price terms over the last decades (from $1.7b in 1971-72), ODA as a proportion of GNI has decreased over the same period. In the early 1970s, the ratio of ODA to GNI was about 0.5%, and except for a period in the mid 1980s, generally declined to 0.27% in 1998.
The rise in the mid 1980s was due to the inclusion of Australian Government contributions towards educating private students from developing countries in Australian tertiary and secondary educational institutions in 1983-84 and the one off bringing forward of multilateral development bank payments in 1988-89, which had the effect of increasing 1988-99 but decreasing 1989-90 expenditure (AusAID 2010).
In the decade to 2008, the ratio of ODA to GNI was at a low of 0.25% from 2001 through 2004 but has risen again to 0.3% in recent years.
The sector benefiting most from Australia's international development assistance in 2007-08 was social infrastructure and services ($1.6b), including $794m for government and civil society, $305m for education, $237m for health and $118m for population programs and reproductive health (AusAID 2010).
The regions receiving the most assistance in 2007-08 were East Asia ($953m), Papua New Guinea and Pacific ($867m) and South Asia ($287m). Countries receiving the most assistance were Indonesia ($424m), Papua New Guinea ($375m), the Solomon Islands ($238m) and Afghanistan ($138m) (AusAID 2010).
Humanitarian, emergency and refugee assistance accounted for $463m in 2007-08. Countries benefiting from Australian support included Afghanistan ($232m), Myanmar (Burma) ($43m) and Indonesia ($87m) (AusAID 2010).
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