A major concern with the Australian aid program is that it favours commercial interests in aid delivery. The commercialisation of aid often results in ‘boomerang aid’ – where aid ends up funding private Australian companies, consultants, advisors, and goods and services, bypassing those who need it the most and returning large economic gains to Australia. The rapidly expanding areas of public-private partnerships demonstrate a commitment to assisting Australian business.

Commercialisation of aid is concerning because of the lack of transparency, public oversight and accountability in aid provision, and because contracts are often bound by commercial-in-confidence agreements.

AID/WATCH invited guest speakers Wendy Bacon and Antony Loewenstein to discuss these issues and the impacts on targeted communities.

Wendy Bacon is an investigative journalist and Professor of Journalism at the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, who has investigated and written about Australian corporate interests and the foreign aid program. She discusses ‘Tracking Corporate Aid’.

Author and journalist Antony Loewenstein discusses aid and development in the context of vulture capitalism, the topic of his latest book, ‘Profits of Doom: How Vulture Capitalism is Swallowing the World.’