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Australia's Overseas Development Assistance partnership with Australia's NGOs

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An integral part of Australia's Overseas Development Assistance is increasing our engagement with Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). Over the past two years, total funding to Australian NGOs for humanitarian and development assistance work has increased from six to eight per cent of Australia's aid program.

This reflects the key role NGOs play in delivering aid.

Earlier this month, I signed Development Assistance Partnership Agreements with five major Australian NGOs who work in developing countries - Caritas Australia, ChildFund Australia, Oxfam Australia, Plan International Australia and World Vision Australia.

These partnerships, with a total value of more than $175 million over four years, provide funding certainty to the NGOs heading into 2010.

The Partnership Agreements will play an important role in joint efforts between the Government and NGOs in addressing poverty, providing education, improving child and maternal health, and combating climate change.

Today I also announce that Australia will provide up to $28million over two years to NGOs for water, sanitation and hygiene through the Civil Society Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Fund.

The Fund, to be managed by AusAID, will be open to competitive applications from NGOs to undertake work in water, sanitation and hygiene in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and South-East Asia and the Pacific.

Improving access to clean water and sanitation services is crucial to raising the health and living standards of people living in developing countries. Australian NGOs have a strong track record in working to bring about long-term better hygiene and health.

(Information on how NGOs can apply for the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Fund can be found at www.ausaid.gov.au)