Our government did not listen (photo: Make Poverty History)
December 15, 2014
Grassroots advocacy organisation RESULTS Australia is deeply concerned that the Australian aid program, recently described by our Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, as the flagship of our foreign policy, has been gouged yet again by savage cuts.
Joe Hockey’s announcement that $3.7 billion will be cut from Australian aid is additional to the $7.6 billion already slashed in May. This means that the aid program, which currently represents around 1.3 per cent of the overall budget, will shoulder over 25 per cent of all savings the Abbott government wants to make.
“These latest cuts will have a devastating impact on poor people’s lives, with major programs impacted and even cancelled,” said Maree Nutt, CEO of RESULTS Australia.
By 2017–2018 the level of Australian aid will fall to only 21 cents in every $100 of national income, the lowest it’s been since records began. By comparison Australia is still the fourth wealthiest OECD country per capita and these aid cuts will see our ‘fair go’ country falling way behind what most other wealthy nations contribute in aid.
Great progress has been made in our region and around the world in the last couple of decades. Fewer people are living in extreme poverty, the number of children dying from preventable diseases has halved and more girls are attending school than ever before.
Reducing our aid program by more than $11 billion over four years will reverse some of this positive progress.
“Aid is vital to ensuring a stable world and Australia’s national security, and is an essential tool in building a healthy, secure and prosperous region,” Ms Nutt said.