A noble mission for Castle Hill student

Joyce (pictured second from right) at Parliament House, Canberra

Miriam Webber | Hills News | 30 September 2015

Joyce Vasta plans to end world poverty.

The Castle Hill law student is part of Sydney advocacy group RESULTS and recently took her crusade to Parliament House.

Ms Vasta and other advocates met with MPs to seek rebuilding Australia’s foreign aid package following cuts by the Abbott government.

“Currently our aid giving is at 0.24 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) and will drop to 0.21 per cent by 2017-18, our least generous level in history,” Ms Vasta said.

She thinks this should be lifted to 0.30 per cent by 2018-2019.

RESULTS wants to see Australia commit to the 17 global goals for sustainable development, which aim to end poverty and address inequality, injustice and climate change by 2030.

Ms Vasta and fellow advocates believe the Australian aid budget can tackle these goals.

Advocates were divided into teams to focus on specific issues. Ms Vasta focused on vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Still around 1.5 million children under the age of five die from vaccine-preventable diseases around the world,” she said.

One of the main barriers for immunisation of children from remote rural villages is that vaccines need to be transported in a system called “the cold chain”, which keeps them between 2 and 8 degrees.

“This is the kind of technology we rely on in the developed world, that they need access to too.”

Ms Vasta said she spoke to MPs about, “direct funding to organise the logistics and new technology to deliver these vaccines adequately”.

She said MPs were very receptive and listened intently.

“We came armed with evidence-based recommendations, and since then we’ve had several MPs write letters to the foreign minister, and plan to give parliamentary speeches based on our recommendations.”