Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament
Australia has managed its organisational change strategically. The integration of development objectives and corporate systems provides incentives to implement the reform and achieve development objectives. Other donors can learn from AusAID’s experience (p.68).
Australia’s solid integration of gender equality, capacity development and disability in projects and programmes is a good example of its holistic approach to development. Its exceptional emphasis on disability makes it a leader in this area internationally (p.17).
Australia has made impressive progress in managing human resources effectively to respond to field imperatives and new ways of working …
AusAID’s workforce has grown by 66 per cent since 2008 to reach a total of 2124 Australian public service (APS) and locally-recruited staff (referred to as Overseas Based, or O-based, staff). The bulk of new staff were recruited in 2011-12, reflecting a strategic move to frontload staffing in time for the real increase in the aid budget in 2011 and planned increases up to 2016 (p.69).
Its decision to use AUD 375 million of the aid budget for in-country refugee costs has also resulted in a significant reallocation of AusAID’s regular programming. It is important that Australia is transparent about what refugee costs will be counted as ODA over the coming years and how they are calculated, while avoiding future in-year reprogramming of the aid programme to ensure predictability (p.51).
The announcement that a large amount of in-country refugee costs will be counted as ODA represents a significant change in Australia’s approach. In 2009, for example, Australia reported USD 1.5 million as in-donor refugee costs, USD 5.5 million in 2010 and zero in 2011. In line with its Transparency Charter, Australia should be transparent about what costs will be counted as ODA over the coming years and how they are calculated. Australia has followed DAC guidance on counting refugee costs as other donors do; however, there are wide discrepancies in DAC members’ interpretations of the rules for reporting on in-donor refugee costs. DAC members could work together to bring more clarity to these rules (p.52).