What is Budget Support and how is it delivered: Australia’s perspective as a donor

By William Robinson 30 April 2024, 6:00PM

For many decades Australia has been a proud supporter of Samoa’s development.

We support economic growth and human development for the people of Samoa. And we are committed to doing so efficiently, accountably, transparently, and under Samoa’s leadership.

Australia’s budget support to the Government of Samoa is a demonstration of these principles.   

In early April, our Governments jointly announced Australia’s disbursement of WST$36.7 million (AUD$20 million) in general budget support to Samoa’s Treasury. It followed our December announcement committing a further AUD$50 million over the next eight years.

Through general budget support, Samoa can control its development destiny. We respect Samoa’s expertise in addressing its unique challenges, and the power of Samoan leadership for building thriving communities through the national systems of your Government.

As our region recovers from the economic hardships from COVID-19, never has supporting the fiscal strength of Samoa been more important. Effective governance requires a sound economic base.

But Australia’s commitment to budget support pre-dates COVID-19. In fact, it goes back to 2013, when Samoa’s multi-donor Joint Policy Action Matrix (JPAM) was established.

We administer budget support with the Ministry of Finance’s leadership, and in collaboration with other best practice development partners who share these principles. These JPAM partners are New Zealand, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the European Union.

The purpose of the JPAM is not to direct funding to any particular Government initiative. Rather the JPAM incentivises and supports Samoa’s own policy and legislative reform priorities that contribute to good economic governance.

I’m pleased to say Samoa’s JPAM consistently performs very well. In recent years the JPAM has played a key role in supporting public financial management, macroeconomic stability, and fiscal discipline – all vital to Samoa’s long-term economic growth.

With thanks to the effectiveness of the JPAM and Samoa’s leadership, Australia has been able to disburse nearly AUD$100 million in general contributions to Samoa’s Treasury since 2013.

And, of course, it is all disclosed for transparency in Samoa’s annual budget statements.

Australia’s commitment to general budget support will endure into the future.  Samoa can rely on Australia as a dependable, transparent and long-term partner.

In addition to general budget support, since 2020 Australia has provided AUD$13 million in budget support specifically for Samoa’s Education Sector. This is supporting the Government of Samoa’s efforts to strengthen the literacy and numeracy skills for all of Samoa’s children.

It is helping to ensure that access to education is inclusive – including for those with disability. And it is supporting learning opportunities for Samoans, from early childhood right through to post-school skills and training.

More broadly, Australia is administering an estimated AUD$53.5 million in official development assistance in 2023-24. This funding is guided by Samoa’s priorities as outlined in its Pathway for the Development of Samoa, and underpinned by our Bilateral Partnership Arrangement that was signed by Prime Ministers Fiame Naomi Mataafa and Anthony Albanese in March 2023.

Australia knows that true partnership means working on equal footing, sharing insights, and supporting each other’s goals and aspirations. This philosophy is central to our ongoing commitment to the Pacific, where we continue to collaborate through regional institutions, particularly the Pacific Islands Forum, to address shared challenges and enhance shared interests.

CHOGM is just around the corner. Samoa’s culture, achievements and visions for the future will be on the world stage. Through our budget support and in a variety of other ways, Australia is proud to support Samoa’s hosting of CHOGM.

As we look to the future, Australia is proud to stand with Samoa, confident that together we are weaving a stronger and more resilient Pacific.

William Robinson is Australia’s High Commissioner to Samoa.


By William Robinson 30 April 2024, 6:00PM
Samoa Observer

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