Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 11:08 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 11:08 | SYDNEY

Australia in Libya: Value for money?


James Brown


19 October 2011 12:05

Today marks seven months since NATO started bombing targets in Libya as part of the campaign to enforce a no-fly zone authorised by UN Security Council Resolution 1973. Australia is now the second largest state donor to the Libyan reconstruction effort, having committed $41.1 million from our aid budget. That's 30% more than the funding committed to the Australian Civilian Corps, which has taken four years to be capable of deploying a handful of people.

Well might you ask why Australia is spending so much treasure so far from home, and to what end? Luckily our foreign minister answered that question at the UN last month:

Some may think that Australia is a long way away from Libya. If you look at the map, that is true. But we are very, very close in the family of democracies and we are very, very close in the family of political freedom across the world.'

It's worth considering whether Australia could have had more policy impact with a small, timely deployment of military planners and air traffic controllers in the early stages, when NATO was begging for help. It certainly would have been cheaper.

Photo, of an F-16 Fighting Falcon involved in the NATO operations in Libya, courtesy of the US Navy.