The Australian Overseas Aid Program aims to advance our national interest by assisting developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development. Australian aid focuses on providing practical, well-targeted development assistance to the Asia-Pacific region and responds selectively to needs in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The aid program is an integral part of Australia's engagement in the Asia-Pacific region and a practical demonstration of our commitment to helping build regional stability and prosperity. The aid program is also an expression of the conviction of the Australian people that it is right for Australia to help the millions of people, especially among our neighbours, whose lives are afflicted by extreme poverty.
In 2002-03 the Australian Government is providing an estimated $1.815b in Official Development Assistance (ODA). Details of ODA distribution are set out in table 3.3. Australia's ODA to gross national income ratio for 2002-03 is estimated to be 0.25%, above the latest (2001) donor average of 0.22%.
Further information and publications on the Australian Government's aid program can be sourced from the web sites http://www.ausaid.gov.au and globaled.ausaid.gov.au of the Australian Agency for International Development (see next section), and the web site of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), http://www.aciar.gov.au/ACIARs-research-programs.
The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID)
AusAID administers the bulk of Australia's aid program. It is an administratively autonomous agency within the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio. AusAID's principal organisational functions are: to provide professional policy advice and support to the Government on aid policy, program directions and international development issues; and to develop and implement programs of assistance in partnership with developing countries, international agencies, non-government organisations (NGOs) and Australian businesses.