The BGA Australia Team, led by Managing Director Michael “Mick” McNeill, wrote an update to clients on the government’s new policy for international development.


  • The Australian government on August 8 released a new policy for its international development program. Titled “Australia’s International Development Policy: For a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indo-Pacific,” the policy — the first of its kind in a decade — contains a blueprint for how Australia will provide aid and development to Indo-Pacific countries.
  • The long-term policy aims to address regional challenges such as poverty, economic growth, health care, infrastructure investment, climate change and gender equality. The development program seeks to strengthen Australia’s influence in the region and position the country as a partner of choice while balancing the development, aid programs and initiatives China offers to the region.


  • While not explicitly stated, countering the Chinese Communist Party’s influence is a key goal of the policy. Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy said, “It’s central to our world view that each country must be able to determine its own fate and make choices for itself. It’s why we don’t engage in unsustainable lending that diminishes sovereignty. It’s why our relationships are built on partnerships and respect.”
  • The policy presents opportunities for the private sector to strengthen the government’s development assistance. Businesses should see leveraging relationships with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as crucial to their involvement in Australia’s development program because the department will lead the coordination and implementation of the government’s new development program.


  • Businesses should watch for new opportunities in bilateral and regional development programs in the Indo-Pacific, specifically related to digital connectivity, improved and new physical infrastructure, the expansion of trade and business ties and the Australian government’s preference for blended development finance. The government wants the policy and the concurrently released Development Finance Review — whose recommendations the government has accepted — to help Australian institutions and entities operating in the region engage in a way that supports its development goals.
  • Businesses will need to evaluate their internal processes and supporting infrastructure to determine how best to mitigate and deter corruption, fragility and poor governance in the region. Due diligence, thorough governance mechanisms, transparency and regular reporting are important components of the government’s development investment program.The government aims to prioritize local employment and procurement to deliver direct economic benefits. Australian projects will likely face a cost premium as a result; however, the government has assured investors that it is prepared to bridge the gap.

We will continue to keep you updated on developments in Australia as they occur. If you have any questions or comments, please contact BGA Australia Managing Director Michael “Mick” McNeill at

Best regards,

BGA Australia Team