Budget Review 2022–23 Index
Dr Geoff Wade
In its 2022–23
Portfolio budget statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade describes the international environment within which Australia currently
operates as follows (p. 13):
Australia faces a deteriorating strategic environment in
2022–23. Many Indo-Pacific countries remain vulnerable following the COVID-19
pandemic, while great power strategic competition is intensifying. The rules,
norms and institutions that support Australia’s prosperity and security are
under persistent pressure.
It is this tense global situation and the challenges posed to
Australia’s interests in the region which have led to further attention and
funds being assigned by Government to foreign policy budgets.
overall resourcing has grown by some $120 million over the 2021–22
estimates, while average staffing will increase by 113 to 6,103 (p. 19). Departmental
of Austrade remains constant, while its administered funding has declined
by over $300 million. Tourism
Australia has seen its funding grow by some $30 million, while there has
been little change in the resourcing of the Australian
Secret Intelligence Service and a slight reduction in the funding made
available to the Australian
Centre for International Agricultural Research. As the table below
indicates, forward estimates show fluctuating provisions in coming years.
Source: Australian Government,
Budget Strategy and Outlook: Budget Paper No. 1: 2022–23:
Statement 5: Expenses and Net Capital Investment, 146.
DFAT funding highlights a number of regional and global initiatives
being promoted by the Government to pursue and protect Australian interests.
Increased Pacific engagement
Australia’s engagement with the Pacific has received further
funding as an extension of the ‘Pacific
step-up’ (now rendered as partnering with our ‘Pacific
family’). Beyond the Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the
temporary, targeted and supplementary ODA discussed in the ‘Foreign aid budget’
article elsewhere in this Budget review, the Government is increasing
Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (p. 81) to $3.5 billion
to support additional infrastructure investment in the Pacific. This will be
partially used to assist Papua New Guinea improve its road and electricity
networks (p. 81), a sphere where China
has been particularly active, and an aspect of joint
responses with allies to counter China’s activities in that country. Other
projects to be funded under the facility are not detailed or costed, citing
commercial sensitivities (p. 81). This measure extends the 2021–22 MYEFO
measure titled ‘Australian
Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific Projects’ (p. 15). The
‘Export Finance and Insurance Corporation’ referred to in the Budget as the
current administering body was, in fact, renamed Export Finance Australia in June
Funding of $65 million for an
High Commission chancery in Honiara, Solomon Islands, is also included in
the Budget. This is intended to support Australia’s efforts across the Pacific
from a country now key in China’s
Pacific aspirations. The scope and significance of the high commission’s activities
are reflected in the fact that costs of this measure ‘will be partially met
from within the existing resources of the Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade, the Department of Defence and the Australian Federal Police’ (Budget
measures: budget paper no. 2: 2022–23, p. 83).
Increased Antarctic engagement
The Budget includes $839.9
million ‘to strengthen Australia’s capabilities and presence in Antarctica’
(p. 25), including $364.5 million over 5 years from 2021–22 (and $92.3
million per year ongoing) to support ‘Australia’s scientific leadership and
international collaboration’. Funding for this measure has already been provided
by the Government. Again, the provision of such funding likely stems from
concerns about the activities
of China in the Antarctic, including the building of Chinese bases in the
Australian Antarctic Territory.
- $136.6 million to support Australia’s inland traverse capability,
critical charting activities, mobile stations, environmental protection and
other core activities
- $109 million to increase aerial and inland capability:
- $60.6 million for drone fleets and other autonomous vehicles and establishing
an ‘Antarctic eye’ with integrated sensors and camera feeds
- $35 million for 4 new medium-lift helicopters to be based on RSV
$13.6 million for aerial capability development research
- $44.2 million in additional shipping support
- $17.4 million for marine science in the Southern Ocean
- $14.3 million for environmental management
- $7.4 million for Antarctic ice sheet research
- $3.4 million to enhance international engagement and ‘promote
Australia’s leadership in Antarctic affairs’.
The provision of this funding for stepped up Australian
engagement in the Antarctic was noted in a February
2022 announcement, which induced
a negative response from China. See the article on Antarctica elsewhere in
this Budget review for details of the scientific aspects of Antarctic
Strengthened engagement with South
A major initiative to broaden Australia’s links with South
Asian partners, again in response to perceived excessive
dependence on East Asia, has also received funding. While the Comprehensive
Strategic Partnership between Australia and India has been in place since the 2020
India-Australia Leaders’ Virtual Summit, the Government is now broadly developing
further links with South Asia through the QUAD strategic alliance, and
boosted science, technology, education, trade, tourism and education links. The
Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement was signed
on 2 April 2022.
The Budget confirmed a $245
million 5-year India program under the Comprehensive
Strategic Partnership framework (p. 82), with the creation of a Centre of
Excellence for Critical and Emerging Technology Policy, and 3 ‘Maitri’
(friendship) initiatives with India:
- an $11.2 million Maitri Scholarships Program for Indian students
to study at Australian universities
- a $3.5 million Maitri Grants and Fellowships Program for future
- a $6.1 million Australia-India Maitri Cultural Partnership.
These programs were announced earlier following discussions
between Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Indian Foreign Minister S
Jaishankar on 14
February 2022 in Melbourne, and will be coordinated by a new Centre
for Australia-India Relations in Australia.
The Budget also provides for an expanded Australian diplomatic
presence through a
new post in Malé, Maldives and a new presence in the Southern Indian high-tech
hub of Bengaluru. In a
22 March 2022 speech, Trade Minister Dan Tehan noted that ‘Austrade will be
setting up an office in Bengaluru, and that will mean that we have the same
diplomatic footprint in India that we currently have with China. And it’s only
one less than what we have with the United States’.
Funding for these measures has already been provided by the
Government and builds on the 2021–22 MYEFO measure titled ‘Comprehensive
Strategic Partnership with India – new initiatives’ (p. 233).
Promotion of trade and tourism
In an effort to stimulate and support Australia’s
post-pandemic economic recovery, a range of targeted trade and tourism measures
has been included in the Budget.
The Government will provide $267.1
million over 4 years from 2022–23 (p. 80) to modernise and improve
Australia’s trade system and support Australian exporters. Funding includes:
- $127.4 million to expand agricultural trade digital services
- $80 million to support small and medium export businesses through
the Export Market Development Grants program
- $48 million to modernise Australia’s trade regulatory system
- $11.7 million to expand the Trade Information Service.
Partial funding for this measure has already been provided
by the Government. This measure builds on the 2021–22 MYEFO measure titled ‘Australian
Trade System Support’ (p. 26).
The funding of a new Austrade office in Vilnius, Lithuania, announced
in February 2022 during the visit to Australia by the Lithuanian foreign
minister, has both economic
and strategic significance.
port facilities funded in the Budget for the Northern Territory are also intended
to ‘boost the region’s importing and exporting ability’ and will thereby serve
Australia’s trade with Indo-Pacific states. The new facility will also likely
provide an alternative to the Port of Darwin, which is leased to Chinese
company Landbridge for 99 years until 2114. It will thus serve both economic
and strategic functions.
The Government will provide additional
funding over 3 years to support the recovery of the Australian tourism
sector from the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding includes:
- $76.7 million over 2 years from 2021–22 to support travel agents
and tour service providers
- $63 million over 3 years from 2021–22 for targeted marketing
- $6.8 million over 3 years from 2021–22 for data and analysis
Slightly variant figures are provided in Trade
Minister Tehan’s media release.
The Budget also provides $19.5 million over 2 years from
2022–23 to fund the Global Business, Talent and Investment Taskforce, now
renamed the Global
Australia Taskforce, to attract talent and international investment to
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