Federal Budget Once Again Falls Short on Aid

The 2017-18 Federal Budget follows the previous Coalition Budgets and for the fourth year in a row again slashes Australian aid, this time by a further $303.3 million in cuts.

“With our international aid already at a record low it’s disappointing not to see increased investments in aid for our region and even more disappointing to see cuts over the next two years. This is not the way Australia has responded to growing need and suffering in the past,” says Maree Nutt, RESULTS CEO.

“As the Budget contains some positive news about Australia’s economic growth and overall Budget outlook, it’s time we did more, not less. We must live up to our ‘fair go’ values and pull our weight to break the cycle of poverty and inequality.”

In recent Budgets, Australia’s support for vital health and education initiatives has been reduced dramatically, and this year the small increase in these areas is due mostly to catch-up payments to multilateral health and education organisations, which were postponed from 2016-17.

“In the following two years, the aid program is frozen at just over $4 billion, which effectively is a cut from what we were expecting of $100 million in 2019-20 and $200 million in 2020-21,” explains Ms Nutt.

Aid organisations are also still waiting for details on one key initiative announced in the election campaign last year, the $100 million Regional Health Security Initiative which promised action to address a range of global health threats such as tuberculosis (TB).

“This budget demonstrates the need for the Government to provide a coherent path for official development assistance which matches growing needs with increased funding. The White Paper on Foreign Policy to be released later this year must set and then fund priorities which are also consistent with our commitment to achieve the Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030,” adds Ms Nutt.

“We have always been a the nation of the fair go, who supports our neighbours and uses our own prosperity to help others and this is not a budget that reflects that.”

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If you would like to interview Maree Nutt, CEO RESULTS Australia please contact Monique McDonell at monique.mcdonell@results.org.au .