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Overview of Australia’s aid program to Tonga

2013/14 Estimated Outcome: $30.5 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate: $30.3 million

Australia is supporting Tonga’s recently established democratic system of government and strengthening Tonga’s systems in health, education and skills training, and the management of public finances. This will help the Tongan Government to deliver future services and reduce its reliance on foreign aid.

Tonga has achieved high standards against many of the Millennium Development Goals, but the Tongan people face increasing health problems, particularly the rise in non-communicable diseases, as well as low employment prospects (particularly for youth).

Public sector

The aim is to develop a more efficient public sector, including in procurement and financial management.

Public sector assistance in Tonga


The aim is to improve infrastructure, particularly maintenance, to increase the proportion of Tonga’s population with reliable and affordable links to markets and services.

Infrastructure assistance in Tonga


The goal is to build a more highly skilled workforce linked to industry demand.

Education assistance in Tonga


We are working to reduce the prevalence of non-communicable disease risk factors such as smoking and obesity and strengthen Tonga’s focus on primary health care.

Health assistance in Tonga

Our results

  • 462km of road was maintained from January 2012 to June 2014, creating almost 20,000 person hours of work for the local contracting industry which the World Bank and Australia helped establish through the Tonga Transport Sector Consolidation Project.
  • 222 Tongan students (including 130 women) graduated from the Australia Pacific Technical College between 2008 and 2013.
  • DFAT funded maintenance and rehabilitation of 55 schools throughout Tonga in 2012, and in 2013 trained 48 teachers.
  • Upgrades of 4 health centres improved health facilities and services for around 2,208 households.
  • Australian volunteer surgeons performed vital surgery on 166 patients in 2013.

Related documents

Education assistance in Tonga


Australia is working closely with Tonga to improve the standard of curriculum and teaching in primary schools to help Tonga achieve improved education outcomes. Australia will also fund a new, high quality technical vocational education and training program to lift workforce standards and provide employment opportunities to Tongans at home and abroad.

Tonga Aid Program Performance Report 2012–13

Related initiatives

The Tonga Education Support Program 2

$12 million, 2012-2015

This initiative will provide support to primary schools and early childhood education; MET through the development and overseeing of the Program Coordinator team, teacher registration, update regulations and policies; knowledge development and dissemination; support for enhanced quality of Tonga Institute of Education.

Health assistance in Tonga


Australia will invest in Tonga’s human capital through health investments. Support to improve primary and preventative health care in Tonga to reduce the prevalence of non-communicable diseases and improve the quality and efficiency of the health system will be continued. A broader assessment of Tonga’s health sector challenges will also be undertaken in collaboration with the Tongan government.

Schedule to the Partnership for Development between the Government of Tonga and the Government of Australia: Implementation Strategy—Improved Health

Infrastructure assistance in Tonga


Australia will invest in improved infrastructure, including working in partnership with the World Bank to repair critical infrastructure, such as airports, roads and ports, in Ha’apai damaged by Cyclone Ian, and to improve the management and condition of Tonga’s road network. Joint Australia-World Bank assistance for road maintenance is being undertaken in a way that has helped to create a locally owned road contracting industry, by tendering maintenance work in small packages and by providing training and business advice to small contractors. A new renewable energy project co financed by Australia and the Asian Development Bank will also install on and off-grid solar energy equipment in Tonga’s outer islands to reduce vulnerability to oil price shocks and increase energy efficiency.

Tonga National Infrastructure Investment Plan 2010

Public sector assistance in Tonga


Australian aid supports Tonga to pursue effective governance—including prudent economic management and debt reduction—and private sector development, by linking aid payments to mutually agreed reform benchmarks. Support for Tonga to pursue appropriate fiscal and economic policy settings will be the centre-piece of Australia’s aid to Tonga in 2014-15.

Schedule to the Partnership for Development between the Government of Tonga and the Government of Australia: Implementation Strategy—A More Efficient and Effective Public Sector

Last reviewed: 16 December, 2014