Foreign Aid

Although Australia’s Foreign Aid (official development assistance) budget will remain at 0.21% of our Gross National Income, our spending will technically be cut by $44 million to $4 billion for the 2020-21 financial year as previously forecast.

Gender Equality

This fund received a $10 million boost in the Budget.

Women are overrepresented in low paid and precarious employment and the first to lose their jobs in an economic downturn. Increases to unpaid care work, gender–based violence and school dropouts further push women into hunger and poverty.  Research has shown when educated and empowered, the cycle of generational poverty is broken.

Water, Sanitation and Health

Aid dedicated to tackling water, sanitation and hygiene issues among the world’s poorest was nearly doubled — from $17 million to $31.8 million.  Vital news for the two-fifths of the world’s people who lack access to clean water and sanitation; living in environments where disease is able to spread easily.

$300 million in aid funding has been committed to ensuring the world’s most vulnerable people receive life-saving immunisations. Australia has also previously pledged over $200 million to the COVAX Facility, an initiative that will ensure the equitable distribution of future COVID-19 vaccines.

Extra help for the Pacific and Timor Leste

Temporary additional support of $304.7m over two years has been pledged to support the Pacific and Timor-Leste’s response to the Covid-19 response and recovery. Though there is no clarity yet on how these funds will be spent, they will be delivered as grants, with priorities to be determined in partnership with the recipient countries.

Good news for our closest neighbours, with aid budget boosts for a handful of Pacific nations. Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Nauru Tonga and Kiribati will all have their Australian aid injections increased, while Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands will hold onto their titles as the two largest Australian aid recipients.

Where are the cuts?

Innovation, disability-inclusive and climate programs are among the areas that have been reduced to support changing priorities.

The continued focus on the Pacific has again meant reductions in funding to other parts of the world.

This includes cuts to:

  • Aid to South and West Asia has been cut by $72 million.
  • Aid to Pakistan slashed by 66%.
  • Aid programs supporting the Middle East and North Africa, and aid to sub-Saharan Africa received cuts of 61% and 48%, respectively.

During a time where an additional 110 to 150 million people are predicted to fall into extreme poverty by 2021, these cuts will have a significant impact on the lives of the poor and vulnerable in these regions.

For a further breakdown of the official development assistance fund, visit Total Australian Official Development Assistance

Australian Aid

Welfare Recipients

The JobSeeker coronavirus supplement, which has already been cut, is due to expire completely on December 31 this year. The budget suggests the payment will revert back to its pre-coronavirus level, which equates to just $40 a day. The formerly known Newstart payment has not increased in 25 years despite rising living costs. However, Social Services Minister Anne Rushton said there would be more announcements about JobSeeker before the end of the year, so watch this space.

A number of welfare recipients will receive an additional $500 bonus.

Young People

Alongside women, young people were most likely to have lost their job during the pandemic and the budget is addressing that.

The budget will support young people to regain employment, offering $200 a week to employers who hire anyone aged 16-30, and $100 a week for any worker aged 30-35.  The budget also provides further access to low-cost training places for school-leavers and subsidies for 100,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships.


No new funding has been committed towards the housing crisis or addressing the national emergency that is domestic and family violence in Australia.  More than $41 million will be cut from federal funding for homelessness services and social housing in 2021.

With a number of emergency measures set to end, including the deferral on mortgage payments, the moratorium on evictions and the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments, Australians will struggle to afford rent or need to move into cheaper housing, pushing others out of the market. That combination of forces is likely to see an increase in people experiencing homelessness.

The government did commit to increase its guarantee for the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, providing cheap finance to build affordable housing.


The Budget expands offshore detention, including its Christmas Island facility, while cutting Australia’s humanitarian intake cap by one quarter, a total of 13,750 places a year.

Women, men and around 16,000 children remain unable to access any safety net, including JobSeeker and JobKeeper, and Status Resolution Support Services including income support.


The budget commits a further $3.9 billion for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS); ensuring eligible Australians have access to the support they need now and into the future.

Closing the Gap

Despite the government partnership earlier this year, establishing 16 targets to address Indigenous disadvantage, no new funding has been included in the 2020 – 2021 budget.

Under their Covid-19 temporary support for tourism operators, $12 million has been committed to Traditional Owners of jointly managed National Parks to help replace lost revenue.


Record funding has been committed to ensuring affordable access to GP’s, pharmaceutical and hospital services.

Additional funding was also provided for subsidised telehealth services including mental health services, and doubled access to Medicare-funded psychological services.  $5.7 billion has been committed to critical frontline mental health services, programs and suicide prevention initiatives.


An additional $146 million will be invested in school mentoring programs and improving educational outcomes initiatives for disadvantaged students.  Universal Access to Early Childhood Education has been extended until the end of 2021.

In summary, while some measures have been included in the 2020 Federal Budget to care for the world’s poor and vulnerable, more than ever they need our support. If you are interested in learning how you can help, contact Jason or Steph at the Foundation.