Maree Nutt| Australian Finanical Review | 17 April 2017

Aid cuts a disgrace

After year on year cuts to the Australian aid program, it should be no surprise that we have now slipped from 16th to 17th in the OECD. It is a national shame that our aid level, measured as a percentage of our gross national income, is now at its lowest level in history.
Some may argue that this is no AAA credit rating scare, but its impacts are significant nonetheless because peoples’ lives are at stake. They just live in other parts of the world.
For example, 20 million people are facing starvation in Yemen and South Sudan. With a shrinking aid program, our ability to contribute as we should is compromised.
There are many other examples of health and education programs that have been reduced or cut in recent years. It’s hard for Australia to be taken seriously on the world stage if this is the public face of how we value people less fortunate than us.
It’s also short sighted from a strategic point of view given the secondary benefits to Australia of helping nations in our region build the health and wellbeing of citizens.
Are the 16 countries ahead of us on the OECD table that much better off or just more generous hearted?
Maree Nutt
Brookvale, NSW