Vision 2020 Australia welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Soft Power review. This submission highlights how Australian investments in inclusive eye health and vision care services can strongly contribute to Australia’s soft power and influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Australian aid sector is uniquely positioned to help facilitate the transfer of Australian values and ideals, through the strong interpersonal linkages generated by the sector's achievements. Well-targeted aid is a cost-effective means of exercising geopolitical leadership in line with key Australian values and areas of strength. It is a crucial pillar in supporting the achievement of overall foreign policy objectives and a critical aspect of Australian influence in the region.
In addition to delivering strong social and economic benefits, past Australian eye health aid initiatives have demonstrated how such efforts build goodwill with partner countries in the Indo-Pacific supported by the generosity of the Australian public. This submission will use the example of eye health investments to highlight the very practical gains made through past investments and the potential benefits that future investment could deliver.