AID/WATCH’s “Where is your Money Going?” campaign monitors Australian foreign aid spending allowing us to respond with critical analysis to policy and program decisions. AID/WATCH conducts investigative research to engender strategic advocacy for a more transparent and accountable program that works towards poverty alleviation. Not Australia’s commercial interests.
The aid program has recently undergone significant changes – the executive agency, AusAID, has recently been absorbed into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) – and the Government has launched what they are calling a ‘new paradigm of aid’ which we see as a harder stance on a well established trajectory. Big business and Australia’s trade interests are winning again through the aid program. Skewed partnerships, where Australia disproportionately benefits – through providing Australian contractors and companies with jobs, at the expense of local interests will continue to happen under the current government. What will change is that with a hardline stance on delivering returns on Australia’s interest being normalized as a priority, that very few are then in a position to speak against the Government’s policy.
There are 3 key parts to this campaign.
- Monitor and investigate: We conduct ongoing monitoring and investigation of DFAT activities and spending, and a have a reliable responsive mechanism to respond to decisions that we see as disadvantaging people and the environment in pursuit of Australia’s commercial interests abroad.
- In-depth research and analysis: We will pick on key areas and trends from our ongoing monitoring to conduct focused research and analysis revealing the nature of aid programs, the key players involved and the true impact of policies on the ground by working with local partners.
- Advocacy and public education: We engage with the Government where we feel that this can lead to real change. Public education is the cornerstone of our work and we will communicate our findings to the Australian public through our discussion series AidTalks as well as regular engagement through other public forums and workshops.
As part of this campaign, we also analyse trends in the aid program that channel funding into areas that we believe should not be funded through the aid budget because they do not focus on poverty alleviation and can harm people and the environment.