The 2017 Budget reaffirms the Turnbull Government’s commitment to promoting Australia’s interests internationally, and our commitment to living within our means.
The Turnbull Government will standardise allowances for government employees serving overseas. This measure will save the Government $37 million and ensure that allowances better align with community expectations. At a time of increasing global tension, the Budget maintains funding for our global diplomatic network, which is critical to protect Australia’s interests overseas.
The Budget includes $92.9 million over two years for our Baghdad embassy, which supports Australia’s efforts to combat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The Turnbull Government will also provide $100 million in development assistance to Iraq over the next three years for humanitarian needs and to prevent the resurgence of conflict.
We will provide $138.3 million over two years to our embassy in Kabul to ensure it continues to coordinate Australia’s contribution to addressing the conflict in Afghanistan. The Budget also commits $80 million in 2017-18 to support Afghanistan’s transition to stability and self-reliance.
Australia will also spend an estimated $3.9 billion in total Official Development Assistance in 2017-18, making us the 13th largest donor in the OECD, up from $3.8 billion in 2016-2017. The aid program will continue to focus on the Indo-Pacific region, where Australia’s interests are concentrated. The aid budget will increase to $4.01 billion in 2018-2019, and be maintained at that level for the following two years.
Australia will also deliver $399.7 million in humanitarian funding, demonstrating our commitment to provide life-saving assistance to those in need, particularly in our region. This includes an increased $150 million Emergency Fund to enable a timely and effective disaster response.
The Turnbull Government is committed to protecting our national interest, contributing to regional and global security and prosperity, and strengthening our engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.