Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong outlined on Tuesday her vision for the future of the Australian aid program, and what a Labor government would do if they were to win the next election.

Broad ranging in nature, four of the themes highlighted can be summed up in one word – resilience.

That is, Senator Wong hopes to ensure that the aid program builds resilience amongst target countries and beneficiaries, so they can withstand disruptions caused by some of the most pressing issues facing our world:

  • Climate change
  • Gender
  • Health
  • Education

Designing and implementing development programs that deliver resilient outcomes is not something governments can do on their own. It requires partnerships with all sectors, and especially with business, to improve economic and social outcomes in poverty affected communities.

DFAT’s Business Partnerships Platform is an example of how development programs can have far-reaching impact and a life beyond initial funding support, through co-investment with the private sector and NGO partners.

Business for Development’s work in Kwale Kenya, demonstrates how collaboration with government, private sector, donor partners, and the community, can design and implement sustainable, scaleable businesses that are linked to market.

As Inclusive Business practioners, we leverage the power of the market to increase smallholder farmer incomes, build resilience, scale and impact.

Though the roadmap has differed over the years, the end goal for the Australian aid program approach has, for the most part, remained similar under both Coalition and Labor governments – “to create a more stable and secure world, by helping reduce poverty, improve health and education and fight inequality”.

Our government must utilise all assets and partnerships available to leverage Australia’s aid program to create the greatest impact and build resilience in the most vulnerable communities.