Australia's foreign aid program missed a key strategic target for spending to empower women and girls overseas, despite 70 per cent of mandated federal government goals being met in the 2015-16 financial year.
A new Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade report published on Wednesday showed the key priority of more than 80 per cent of aid spending and investments going towards helping effectively address gender issues was narrowly missed, reaching 78 per cent.
The outcome total was the same as in the 2014-15 financial year, with targeted spending in education and heath the highest sectors and growing.
The department said it would need to focus more on supporting investments in the agriculture, fisheries and water sector, which was the lowest in the overall women and girls empowerment category, despite improvement in 2014-15.
"An increasing proportion of investments in this sector involve partnerships with private sector entities whose awareness of and ability to address gender inequalities in agriculture, fisheries and water still need strengthening," the report said.
Targets on increasing consolidation were met, while progress on getting so-called aid for trade investments to 20 per cent of the aid budget by 2020 was considered on track.
Tuesday's federal budget comes as overall development assistance spending by the Turnbull government is at an eight-year low, with planned increases by 2020 still lower than during the Rudd and Gillard governments, more than a decade earlier.
Under the Coalition, Australia's $3.83 billion official development assistance budget for 2016-17 was closest to spending levels in 2009-10, totalling $3.86 billion.
After more than $240 million in cuts this financial year, aid groups hope Scott Morrison's second budget won't bring further reductions.
Current budget commitments over the four-year forward estimates period had been set to peak at $4.1 billion, meaning Australia could spend less on foreign aid in 2020 than it did in 2010-11, when the total reached $4.3 billion.
In last year's budget, planned spending for 2017-18 was slated to grow to $3.9 billion, before reaching $4.01 billion in 2018-19.
On existing spending, more than 90 per cent of Australia's foreign aid commitments go to countries in the Indo-Pacific region, including more than $558 million to Papua New Guinea, $365 million to Indonesia and $162 million to the Solomon Islands.
The new report found Australia's aid was meeting targets in areas including promoting prosperity, engaging with the private sector overseas, reducing poverty and focusing on the Indo-Pacific region.
In 2015-16, three quarters of all development assistance spending by the department went through the most common types of partner organisations: 41 per cent through multilateral organisations, 20 per cent through commercial partners and 11 per cent through non-government organisations.
Data on whether Australian aid was achieving value for money found 86 per cent of investments were rated as satisfactory for efficiency and 87 per cent were rated satisfactory for effectiveness, down from 90 per cent in 2011-12.
The report said fraud and anti-corruption strategies were in place for all major country and regional programs receiving Australian aid dollars.