Cultural and economic advantages and disadvantages
This chapter discusses the cultural and economic advantages and disadvantages for Australia that result from its Indonesian aid links. The discussed economic and cultural benefits include the long-term development of Indonesia and its region and the improvement of employment and investment opportunities for Australian businesses and of training opportunities. The discussed economic and cultural disadvantages come from the inequitable distribution of aid, rights abuses, and government corruption that results from the over reliance on aid income and the, arguably, unrealistic nature of aid policies.
Cultural and economic advantages
The importance of long-term development aid is summed up in the often quoted phrase, 'a fish for a day but a fishing rod for life'. Assisting the poor living in Indonesia to encourage private investment and trade opportunities, and to create stable social institutions as an avenue to sustainability and to assist education is, arguably, to benefit both Indonesia and Australia in the long-term.
Employment and training opportunities
Approximately 45% of all Australian aid was used to buy Australian goods and services in recent years. A significant amount of this came from aid to Indonesia, with significant economic flow on effects for businesses and for increased levels of employment in Australia. Thousands of full and part-time jobs have been created in government and non-government aid agencies as well as in private consultancy firms. Voluntary aid has been said to benefit young people seeking work experience and retirees and unemployed people seeking worthwhile work. The theory is that voluntary work gives them valuable knowledge and work skills and improves cultural links between the two countries.
Assisting in the improvement of living standards...