Cate has a strong interest in development economics and the role of development assistance in improving the standard of living of those living in poverty and working with countries to meet their development objectives. She is the Assistant Secretary, Development Policy and Education Branch in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This involves managing a team of around 25 people covering development policy, poverty and social transfers, education and disability inclusive development. The role involves proactively responding to policy issues that impact on how Australia approaches its development assistance.
Cate joined the Australian Agency for International Development in 1994. She has managed economic governance programs and relationships across the Pacific, including Papua New Guinea and in Indonesia.
Cate served in Indonesia during the Asian Financial Crisis and subsequently helped develop Australia’s first economic governance programs with Indonesia. Over 2006-2010 she led evaluations in the Office of Development Effectiveness. These included assessments of Australia’s aid strategy and program in the Philippines, an evaluation of anti-corruption related aid and work on basic education.
Cate took leave in 2010 to undertake a PhD in Economics. Her research is on poverty, risk and informal insurance in remote Papua New Guinea. On return to DFAT in 2013, Cate led Australia’s approach to international taxation and infrastructure finance in the Development Working Group of the G20 during Australia’s presidency.
Before taking up her current role, Cate worked in the Development Economics Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Here she developed Australia’s first framework for providing countries with assistance in domestic resource mobilisation, spent time conducting economic assessments of aid investments, and providing advice on economic issues affecting Australia’s aid partners.