Budget: $224 mil cut shows big task of rebuilding aid

Further aid cut shows big task of rebuilding aid needs to start in the next term

Poverty advocacy group, RESULTS International Australia, has expressed deep disappointment that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has decided to continue the legacy of Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey by proceeding with the cut of $224 million in Australia’s overseas aid scheduled for 2016-17.

The further cut in aid in 2016-17 reduces Australia’s aid to just 0.23% of gross national income, which is the lowest level of we have ever given as a nation.

“As Australia, along with 192 other countries, endorsed the Sustainable Development Goals last September, this further reduction in Australia’s aid sends the wrong message about Australia’s commitment to achieving these goals,” RESULTS Australia’s CEO Maree Nutt said.

This year’s Budget continues a trend from the last three years of international aid funding, which makes up less than 1% of the total Federal Budget, accounting for a disproportionate share of total Budget savings.

The Budget completes Australia’s $200 million pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria for 2014 to 2016. In 2016, the Global Fund is seeking renewed funding for the period 2017 to 2019, which would enable the Global Fund to increase the number of lives its programs have saved from 22 million to 30 million.

“In the next three years, Australia needs to contribute at least $300 million as its share of the Global Fund’s replenishment, and we need to have sufficient overall aid to allow for this contribution without undermining other aid objectives,” Ms Nutt said.

However, the low growth in the aid program planned for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20 will leave little room for increases in the Global Fund or other international health programs.

As we near the Federal election expected in July, RESULTS calls on all major parties to reaffirm their commitment to effective aid and development, and allocate sufficient funding to make progress towards the ambitious goals leaders have set to eliminate extreme poverty, and improve health, education and economic opportunities for the poorest.

This will require a commitment from all parties to reverse these cuts and begin reinvesting in Australia’s aid program.
ENDS

Media Contact;
Camilla Ryberg I camilla.ryberg@results.org.au I 1300 713 037 I 0435 182 567