Welcome to Episode 85 of Good Will Hunters from the Development Policy Centre. Today on the show I speak to Elizabeth Peak.
Elizabeth currently serves as the Co-Head of the COVID Development Response and Recovery Taskforce and First Assistant Secretary of the Human Development and Governance Division at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Prior to this she was Minister-Counsellor (Economic) at Australia’s at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade embassy in Beijing, China. She has previously held the role of Assistant Secretary South-East Asia Services and Investment Branch.
Elizabeth has been instrumental in the Australian Government’s recent development policy Partnerships for Recovery — Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response and performance framework, which outlines Australia’s approach to tackling COVID-19 in our region, pivoting our development program to focus on the virus, together with our partners.
This interview is an exciting and rare opportunity to unpack the new policy with a senior representative of DFAT.
During the episode, Elizabeth and I examine how aid funding will be repurposed and allocated to assist the Indo-Pacific’s response and recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic, including where the 280m allocated to the response will be spent, and what programs have been cancelled or paused to make these funds available.
We then discuss whether bilateral aid to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, among others, will continue, in light of the decision to only make targeted investments outside of South East Asia. I ask Elizabeth whether the Department and the Government regret cutting funds to health programs by over 30% in recent years, and why no additional funds have been allocated to the Covid-19 response, given that 1bn of additional funding was allocated to the region following the Indonesian tsunami.. Finally, Elizabeth and I discuss labour mobility and tourism, including whether the Government is doing enough to promote the Pacific Travel Bubble.
You can read the policy here.
You can read analysis by the Devpolicy Blog on the policy here.
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Enjoy the episode,
The GWH Team