Thursday, 30 Nov 2023

Australias diplomatic network has serious gaps and needs boost, review warns

Australias diplomatic network has serious gaps and needs boost, review warns


Australias diplomatic network has serious gaps and needs boost, review warns

Some parts of Australia's overseas diplomatic network are "stretched to the point of ineffectiveness" and need a staffing boost, a review has warned the government.

The review, overseen in part by the influential foreign policy expert Allan Gyngell who died last week, has identified "serious gaps" in Australia's foreign service.

It calls for reforms over the next 10 years to ensure the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can "make Australia's case and seek to avert shocks or conflict".

This should include boosting numbers at some diplomatic posts where currently only one person is stationed.

Over time, it says, the government should raise to three the minimum number of people representing Australia at most posts "to ensure a staffing profile with the capacity to achieve outcomes".

The review also urges the government to increase the budget for public diplomacy, so that more of Australia's embassies can produce video content to spread their key messages.

It calls for a cyber attack response team to be created to help Pacific countries respond to potentially debilitating cyber activity.

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