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2012/13 Expenditure

$61.4 million

2013/14 Proposed Expenditure

$62.2 million


Expenditure is total official development assistance inclusive of DFAT’s bilateral program, flows from DFAT regional and global programs and other government departments.

Implementation of the revised 2013–14 budget is currently under discussion with partner governments and organisations.


In May 2009 Australia and Vanuatu agreed on a Partnership for Development to reduce poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The Partnership guides Australia’s aid to Vanuatu and focuses on the priority areas of education, health, infrastructure, economic governance and law and justice. It also provides support for land management and for civil society organisations.

Find out more about the Vanuatu–Australia Partnership for Development

Australia has invested $191 million in Vanuatu over the previous three years. Our investment has contributed to important development results, having:

  • increased participant household incomes by an average of 26 per cent through TVET support (2,905 people since 2010)
  • reduced malaria prevalence by 80 per cent since 2007
  • enabled 5,505 children to be enrolled in years 1–6 at school in 2012
  • improved 174 km of rural roads since 2010 across three islands generating over 100,000 days of local employment and improved access to health centres, schools and markets
  • supported Vanuatu to lift tourism numbers from 238,000 in 2010 to 327,000 in 2012.

More results can be viewed under the ‘See our results’ tab above.

Australia expects to provide $62.2 million in development assistance to Vanuatu in 2013–14. We will:

  • upgrade of 30 rural health facilities which serve around 170,000 people
  • train 160 teachers in the new primary school curriculum and improved teaching methods
  • assist the Vanuatu Government to increase its revenue collection
  • support critical nation building infrastructure projects, including major urban development in Port Vila and rehabilitation of rural road networks
  • help build eight new police facilities in rural areas
  • support 50 communities to benefit from a program to protect children and women from violence and abuse.

More on expected outcomes can be viewed under the ‘See our results’ tab above.


Results to June 2013

  • Since 2007 malaria incidence has reduced by over 80 per cent nationwide and is almost eliminated in the province of Tafea, where incidence is now less than 1 per cent.
  • Australia contributed to vaccinating 1,405 children against measles, and 1,837 children against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) in 2012.
  • 9,121 people accessed specialist reproductive and sexual health services in 2012 at Wan Smolbag’s clinic in Port Vila, including many women and youth. 

Commitments 2013-14

  • Assist Tafea Province (population 32 549) to be malaria-free by 2014.
  • Finalise the upgrade of 30 health facilities which serve around 170,000 people.
  • Assist Central Medical Stores to upgrade three rural pharmacies to improve routine and emergency medicine distribution throughout the country.
  • Replace defunct oxygen plants in the country’s two major hospitals to provided good quality medical gases to three quarters of Vanuatu’s population.

More about health


Results to June 2013

  • In 2012, Australian funding contributed to providing school grants to 425 primary schools (98 per cent of all primary schools) and providing pre-service training to 354 teachers.
  • 285 ni-Vanuatu students on Australia Awards in 2012, more than 40 per cent women.
  • Counselling and information on violence against women and women’s rights provided for approximately 4,626 women and men in FY2011-12. 289 Family Protection Act orders facilitated in 2012.

Commitments 2013-14

  • Roll out new national curriculum and learning materials for years 1-6 to improve education quality for 18,000 children.
  • Training for more than 300 new and 300 existing primary teachers, including in-service training on multiclass teaching and literacy methodologies.
  • 95 new Australia Awards at local, regional and Australian universities and colleges, plus on-going assistance to 284 students.
  • Continued expansion of the work of the Vanuatu Women’s Centre to protect women against violence.

More about education

Economic development

Results to June 2013

  • 171.4kms of priority roads upgraded from 2010 to 2012, generating 101,588 days of work and improving access to health centres, schools and markets for up to 40,000 people.
  • Supported number of incoming tourists to increase from 238,000 in 2010 to 327,000 in 2012.
  • Over 24,000 solar lamps replaced kerosene lamps and candles for families with no access to electricity since 2011. Electricity cost savings of 20-30 per cent for families due to free mobile phone recharging (using the lamps).
  • Telecommunications coverage now available for 90 per cent of the population, supporting 1.5 per cent GDP increase.

Commitments 2013-14

  • Employment on road works for people in remote communities.
  • Upgrading of key provincial unsealed roads to be all-weather accessible.
  • Two regulators (Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulator and Utilities Regulatory Authority) will be resourced to carry out their roles efficiently and independently.

More about economic development


Results to June 2013

  • Major reforms in Value-Added Tax (VAT) collection meant that VAT collection increased by 12 per cent in the first four months of 2012 compared with same period in 2011 and exceeded the October 2012 target by 34 per cent.
  • 164 separate Government of Vanuatu IT systems consolidated into a single network in 2011, improving efficiency and savings of around $4 million per year.
  • Recruited 25 men and 8 women to the Vanuatu Police Force and trained 914 police in 2011. Increased rural access to policing through building one police station and two new police posts.
  • In 2012, reduced the Land Registry backlog by 60 per cent to only 1,000 outstanding applications and improved transparency and security for document processing.

Commitments 2013-14

  • Enable improvements to Vanuatu’s land planning and management through strengthened institutions, accurate spatial data, development of a valuation zoning system for Luganville, improved valuation procedures and better government revenue collection.
  • Support the review and legal drafting of proposed amendments to land governance legislation. 

More about governance

Research overview

Good research can lead to positive change for the world’s poorest by enhancing the design and implementation of development policies and programs. That’s why Australian Aid is committed to an innovative research portfolio and funds research, including through:

  • competitive funding mechanisms (such as the Australian Development Research Awards Scheme)
  • research partnerships with different Australian, international and developing country research institutions
  • commissioning research to address a specific question or clearly defined research gap, and
  • one-off research grants, when an existing program of research is relevant to the Australian aid program.

More information on how we fund research

Research funded by our Vanuatu country program specifically targets Vanuatu’s development challenges. Some of the highlights of this research are listed below.

Survey of women’s lives and family relationships

The Australian Aid-funded television program 'Love Patrol' challenges values, attitudes and behaviours that harm women and children in Vanuatu.

The 'Vanuatu National Survey of Women’s Lives and Family Relationships' is the first nationwide study that benchmarks the prevalence and incidence of violence against women, and attitudes to violence in Vanuatu. This survey examines how violence impacts on the health and wellbeing of women and children; risk and protective factors in the family and community; coping strategies of women; and what this means for prevention and support services.

The study reveals a different side to Vanuatu's happy image. It argues that violence against women cannot be prevented unless patterns of unequal power, including controlling behaviours by husbands and intimate partners, are transformed. The study finds that respect and trust for Vanuatu’s chiefs and church leaders helps to promote social cohesion, and that there is some support for women's rights and non-violent solutions to family problems. It concludes, however, that attitudes about women's rights and gender equality need widespread change to reduce the high rates of all forms of violence against women in Vanuatu.

This important study was recently completed - with Australia's support - by the Vanuatu Women's Centre, in partnership with the National Statistics Office.  The report was launched on 2 November 2011 at Parliament House in Canberra, as part of the Australia–US Pacific Women's Empowerment Policy Dialogue: Stopping Violence Against Women

Overcoming barriers to women’s economic empowerment

Women in Vanuatu: Analyzing Challenges to Economic Participation is a comprehensive analysis of institutional, legal, and regulatory barriers to women’s full economic participation in Vanuatu. A joint Australian Aid, World Bank and International Finance Corporation team prepared the report March-April 2008, based on field research and consultations with government and private sector organisations.

The report outlines the context for women’s economic empowerment in Vanuatu. By analyzing the gender dimensions of the cost of doing business— using the World Bank’s Doing Business indicators—it considers reforms to improve private sector development so women and men will benefit equally. The report recommends actions for Australian Aid, the World Bank, International Finance Corporation and the Government of Vanuatu to promote women’s economic empowerment by improving: Vanuatu’s legal framework; availability of sex-disaggregated data; business start-up and licensing requirements; access to land; access to markets; awareness of ‘value added’ and fair trade brands and certification; business and financial management skills; access to finance; contract enforcement; and employment law (to remove discrimination).

Report: Women in Vanuatu: Analyzing Challenges to Economic Participation (World Bank, 2009) [external website]

Social and economic impact of telecommunications in Vanuatu


Reports: 2008, 2009, 2011 [external websites]

This Australian-funded multi-year study is tracking the impact of improved telecommunications technology on people in urban and rural Vanuatu. The 2011-12 report is the third in the series of studies—undertaken by the Pacific Institute of Public Policy—and further illuminates the economic and social impacts of telecommunications in Vanuatu. The latest study has found that many of these impacts are clear: prior to 2008, people in Vanuatu had limited access to phones, but now mobiles are a common household item. Since 2008, both the incumbent (Telecom Vanuatu Ltd) and the new provider (Digicel) have expanded services across the country, including to remote islands in the north and south. Modes of communication are changing, new business ventures are emerging, and mobile phones are becoming a part of everyday life.

For further information, see the Pacific Institute for Public Policy Homepage [external website].

Unfinished State: Drivers of change in Vanuatu

Unfinished State: Drivers Of Change in Vanuatu [PDF 595 kb]

The heart of the development challenge in Vanuatu is managing change. Many of the drivers of change discussed here…have the potential to offer greater choices and opportunities to ni-Vanuatu. However, they also threaten rising inequality and a raft of new social problems, and could prove highly disruptive to communities and their way of life. Report, p 15  

Development is a fundamentally political process, and development assistance is likely to be more effective if it is based on a sound understanding of the country context, including political processes and incentives.

Because of this, Australia has funded 'Drivers of Change', an analytical tool used by donors to assess the prospects for and constraints on development in a particular country context. With a political economy perspective, the tool assesses the interaction between economic, social and cultural systems, institutions, and actors, including individuals and organisations.

The report maps out possible development scenarios for Vanuatu in the coming 10–15 years, based on different assumptions around political governance. This includes examining what kind of change is possible in Vanuatu’s political environment, and highlighting the choices, risks and opportunities facing the country.


heading fold Why we give aid


Many of Vanuatu’s people live in poverty, have poor health, and cannot access opportunities and services such as education.

As a regional neighbour, Australia is well-placed to work closely with government and civil society to improve Vanuatu’s development. Australia can, and is, making a real difference in Vanuatu.

Find out more about why we give aid to Vanuatu


heading fold How we give aid

Through the Vanuatu–Australia Partnership for Development our two countries work together to support Vanuatu’s development, targeting sectors where help is most needed.

The Partnership commits Vanuatu to provide sound laws, policies and public service delivery, and to effectively and transparently manage development resources. It commits Australia to increase our aid, give good technical advice and to work closely with Vanuatu’s Government to deliver this assistance.

Read the Vanuatu–Australia Partnership for Development document


heading foldProgress Against MDGs


Last reviewed: 27 February, 2014