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This paper explores contemporary official and scholarly thinking on aid, development, conflict prevention and strategic shaping to try to identify promising avenues to promote regional growth and stability in a tight budget environment.
As Australia focuses on its global interests in a changing and challenging international environment, there’s a danger that we’ll lose sight of important constants of history and geography. We don’t have an either/or choice to focus on near or distant security imperatives. While the Australian Government’s decision to lift defence funding will help with this, cutting aid to help offset that boost may prove counterproductive. We also need to further improve the quality of our aid and regional diplomacy, as well as the hard and soft aspects of our security engagement. This paper suggests some useful first steps for doing so.