Australia is the 2nd largest grant giver to Indonesia (after Japan). As a close neighbour to Indonesia, Australia’s Aid Investment Plan Indonesia website lists bilateral, regional and global interests as reasons to support Indonesia.
The Australia Awards scholarships granted to over 850 Indonesians gives locals a chance to study at top Australian institutions with over 40 participating universities throughout Australia. But this is not the only field Australian Aid is active in. According to the United Nations in 2010, a mother in Indonesia is 32 times more likely to die as a result of childbirth than in Australia. Thanks to Australian Aid in 2014 to 2015, a skilled birth attendant helped with over 25,000 additional births in Eastern Indonesia. From 2009 to 2014 the number of maternal deaths has decreased by 40 percent there. Australia has also funded the development of 950 women’s groups that advocate for gender equality in the workplace and advocate against violence against women. Australia has also helped almost 13,000 women survivors of violence with counselling and shelter. The goals set out by Australia until 2019 for its Indonesian aid programme are to improve performance of public economic sectors and give Indonesians increased access to infrastructure, improve education and health and to improve the performance of public institutions. But there has been a 40 percent cut in the Australian funds allocation since 2016, meaning AUD 220 million less in grants will be given to Indonesia. At the end of 2014, The Coalition government in Australia announced it would slash its overall aid budget by $1 billion for the next financial year. There has been speculation the cuts to Indonesian aid are related to the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, previously said the death penalty decision would “have consequences”. But Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines and Laos have also experienced cuts in financial aid from Australia. This hasn’t been a blow to the Indonesian budget as by law the total sum of foreign financial aid given to Indonesia must be 3% or less of the annual budget. These laws were set out in 2004 in the Law of Finance (No. 17/2003), Law of National Treasury (No. 1/2004) and the National Development Plan (No.25/2004). This is so that Indonesia doesn’t rely on foreign aid for its development and also to keep Indonesia free of being influenced by foreign interests. You can read more about the Australian Awards at www.australiaawards.gov.au.