Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd this week announced a review of Australia’s multi-billion dollar aid program.

There has been considerable public concern in recent months at the efficacy of Australian aid spending, with reports suggesting some consultants are being paid many hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Australian Government has stated its commitment to the aims of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which include halving extreme poverty by 2015. By then Australia’s aid budget will grow to $8 billion a year, making AudAID the fifth biggest-spending federal government agency.

With existing concerns about the effectiveness of Australian aid spending, and spending in the sector set to grow dramatically in the years ahead, a review is timely to ensure that we are doing are utmost to direct aid funding to where it is most needed and will have the most impact.

As Rowan Callick writes in The Australian, “Australians’ natural warmth about the notion of doing good should not prevent a tough assessment of how – indeed, whether – Canberra's spending can sustainably improve the lives of the poor in other countries.”

For another media report on the review of Australian aid spending, please click here.