Review Of Foreign Arrangements Scheme

  • The Hon Tim Watts MP, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs

    The Albanese Government has appointed Ms Rosemary Huxtable AO PSM to lead an independent review of the Australia’s Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Act 2020 (the Act), which underpins the Foreign Arrangements Scheme.

    The review will ensure the legislative framework underpinning the Scheme is effective and responsive to a complex international environment. As required by the legislation, the review will identify possible improvements to the operation of the Act and consider the effectiveness of the Act in meeting its objectives.

    The Foreign Arrangements Scheme was introduced to ensure that Australian governments at all levels and Australian public universities enter agreements with foreign countries that do not adversely affect Australia’s foreign relations and are not inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy.

    Over the last three years, the Scheme has highlighted the scale and depth of Australia’s international engagement. More than 9,000 arrangements have been listed on the Public Register, across a broad range of themes and countries.

    Ms Huxtable has extensive public service and national security experience, including as a former Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Finance.

    The review will be informed by a public consultation process. The Government values the role of Australia’s states, territories, local governments and universities in advancing Australia’s interests abroad, and welcomes their participation in the review.

    The Government is now inviting written submissions from the public. Further information on the review, including the terms of reference and how to make a submission, can be found at www.foreignarrangements.gov.au. The closing date for submissions is 2 August 2024. The findings of the review will be provided to Government in late 2024.

    Quotes attributable to Foreign Minister Wong:

    “It is essential to ensure that agreements with foreign countries are consistent with Australia’s national interests.

    “The Albanese Government’s review of the Foreign Relations Act will better equip Australian subnational governments and public universities to manage risks and to benefit from opportunities.”

    Quotes attributable to Assistant Foreign Minister Watts:

    “The Albanese Government’s review of the Foreign Arrangements Scheme provides a valuable opportunity to learn from the practical administration of the scheme.

    “This Review will ensure the Foreign Arrangements Scheme supports Australia’s engagement with foreign countries effectively as our international environment becomes increasingly complex.”

    /Public Release. View in full here.