Australia is a founding member State of the ILO and a key partner of the ILO in promoting the Decent Work Agenda. Australia has ratified a number of Conventions, including seven Fundamental and three Governance Conventions and is part of the Asia-Pacific Government Group of ILO members.

The cooperation between Australia and the ILO is channelled through bilateral cooperation agreements with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)Australian Aid.

Australia's strategic contributions to the ILO

Australia funds the ILO through: 

  • Assessed contributions to the ILO Core Budget paid by all ILO member States by virtue of their membership. From 2016 to 2019, Australia contributed over US$ 34.3 million.
  • Voluntary, non-core funding contributions earmarked for priority themes and projects. From 2016 to 2019, Australia contributed over US$ 35.2 million.

Australia’s total contributions, 2016-2019 (US$ 69.5 million)

Australia’s support to ILO interventions

The ILO currently implements programmes in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Sri Lanka and Eastern-Asia with development cooperation funding from Australia. Australia also supports the Better Work Programme, ILO’s flagship programme to improve working conditions and enhance business competitiveness in the global garment industry.

Australia’s development cooperation priorities 

The purpose of Australia’s development cooperation programme is to promote Australia’s national interests by contributing to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. To that end, Australian assistance focuses on two development outcomes: supporting private sector development and strengthening human development by investing in the following sectors:
  • Infrastructure, trade facilitation and international competitiveness
  • Agriculture, fisheries and water
  • Effective governance: policies, institutions and functioning economies
  • Education and health
  • Building resilience: humanitarian assistance, disaster risk reduction and social protection
  • Gender equality and empowering women and girls
At least 90 per cent of Australia’s development cooperation assistance is directed to Australia’s immediate neighbours in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly South East Asia and the Pacific.