The media often reports of gross misspending, even theft, of foreign-aid funds in third-world countries. This problem is compounded by the existence of too many bloated non-government organisations, staffed in part by do-gooders who are turned on by giving away millions of someone else’s money. Such aid industries also suffer from the same symptoms as all large organisations — they eventually run to suit the convenience of their members.
The adage still applies, give a man a fish and he will be grateful for a day, show a man how to fish and he will feed himself for life.
So let Australia, a nation which can punch above its weight when it comes to problem solving, innovation and training, spend the $4.2b by carefully selecting suitable foreign trainees, bring them to Australia, in Australian transport, and instruct them in Australian facilities, purposefully kept simple, small and effective.
Any approved equipment needed can also be obtained under accountable Australian supervision instead of blindly dishing out millions to less-than-transparent agencies over whom Australia has little control.
Most of the $4.2b thus stays within our borders instead of disappearing into wrong pockets, especially those in countries known to have shady performance records. Simultaneously, useful and long-lasting aid will have been achieved.
In the end, Australians would get more bang for our buck.
Brian Smith, Kadina