Australia is working with key regional organisations, such as the Association of South East Asian Nations [external link], the East Asia Summit (EAS) [external link] and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation [external link], to create a strong and prosperous East Asia region. We promote economic integration through the free flow of goods and services across borders. We also respond to regional challenges, including emerging infectious diseases, human trafficking, water resources management and disaster management.
Australia promotes economic integration in South East Asia through regional interventions to improve private sector opportunities, invest aid in infrastructure, drive international competitiveness and facilitate trade.
Australia, in partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat, will support the implementation of the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) in 2014-15 by assisting developing ASEAN countries to benefit from more open trade and economic integration. Training and specialist advice will be provided to the private sector and government officials on investment, competition policy, intellectual property, rules of origin and trade in services.
Harvested rice (credit: CARE Australia).
We will work with the Asian Development Bank and other regional partners to reduce the cost of trade and facilitate private sector business opportunities. We will assist in streamlining border procedures; reducing the time required by customs clearances; and improving traffic rights to allow vehicles to move between countries.
Australia has taken the lead in supporting developing effective governance of APEC members through increased cross-border cooperation in education services and in progressing a new regional mechanism that promotes financial sector reform and will increase investment flows. Australian support for the APEC Public Private Partnership Centre in Indonesia will boost private financing of infrastructure and increase expertise in partnering with the private sector.
Australia will build on existing work to support youth-focussed education campaigns and advocacy efforts as well as work with regional partners to develop labour protection legislation and policy to promote safe and legal migration. Our programme will reduce exploitation of migrant workers through promotion of legal and safe migration, labour rights protection, and decent work opportunities in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region. Human trafficking is a grave abuse of human rights that destroys people’s lives. Australia will continue its anti-human trafficking efforts with an increased focus on the differing needs and vulnerabilities of men and women, particularly as they interact with the criminal justice system.
Our support to water resources management in the Mekong Region encourages economic development that is sustainable, equitable and improves livelihoods. Australia will support the Mekong River Commission to guide planning and decision-making; strengthen social and environmental standards; and build civil society’s capacity, specifically women’s, to engage in water planning and management.
The Friendship bridge built with Australian funding and completed and opened in 1994, crossing the Mekong River and connecting Thailand to Laos (credit: DFAT).
East Asia is prone to large-scale natural disasters. We will work through the EAS to build resilience by improving regional coordination and response; with ASEAN to build the capacity of their Emergency Rapid Assessment Team; assist deployments to support and coordinate disaster response activities; and continue support of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management.
Archived details of expenditure for this program for 2013–14 can be found here.
Archived details of expenditure for DFAT’s aid program, following the Government’s announcement on 18 January 2014 to revise the aid budget, can be found here.