SENATOR CLAIRE MOORE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE PACIFIC
SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
TURNBULL GOVERNMENT CHALLENGED BY ITS DECLINING TRANSPARENCY IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
A recent report raising concerns about the transparency in the reporting of Australia's international development programs criticises the Turnbull Government.
The report, Gone backwards: findings from the 2016 Australian aid transparency audit, produced by the Australian National University's Development Policy Centre, finds a number of deficiencies in the reporting of Australia's international development programs including:
• difficulties finding and accessing documents;
• a lack of clarity regarding what happens to information related to completed and multiphase projects; and
• inconsistencies in the presentation and relevance of information on the DFAT website.
The audit report was conducted to assess the transparency of the Australia aid program in mid-2016 and compared findings to a similar report in mid-2013.
The report highlighted that transparency is widely recognised as a vital aspect of aid effectiveness and reinforce the many public statements by the Government on their commitment to transparency.
"Transparency should not just be a hollow catchcry by the Turnbull Government but a demonstrated foundation that is consistent and comprehensive in its international development program," said Senator Moore, the Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific.
The Turnbull Government has the ability to deliver transparency in its reporting but this report shows a lack of consistency, clarity and accessibility on information about Australia's aid programs.
There is also a perception identified in the 2015 Australian Aid stakeholder survey of a declining trust in the government's transparency which has dropped to 50 per cent rating it as 'a great or moderate weakness'
"The Turnbull Government has an important opportunity with the current foreign policy White Paper process to address these important concerns around declining transparency in the delivery of its Australia's international development programs as well as rebuild the lost confidence," Senator Moore said.
With the Turnbull Government having taken Australia to its lowest level of spending on overseas aid as a proportion of gross national income (GNI) since the program began - it is essential the funding that remains is delivered within a framework that can demonstrate accountability.
SATURDAY, 7 JANUARY 2017