May 8, 2017
“ No one expected to see a dramatic increase to aid in tonight’s budget but when Australia’s contribution to aid is already at a record low it was beyond disappointing to see further cuts coming by 2021,” says Maree Nutt, CEO RESULTS Australia.
The one year extension of the freeze on aid to 2021-22 means that aid will be reduced by $110 million in real terms and reach a new low of 0.19% of Gross National Income at a time when the overall Budget is to be in a substantial surplus.
“Given our OECD ranking dropped to 19 out of 29 countries in terms of aid giving this year, tonight’s Budget begs the question: how low we are prepared to sink? ”
“We welcome the increase for the Pacific to 30% of the overall aid budget. However with such a small overall aid budget, the concern is that this money may be diverted from other areas that will in turn suffer.”
“It’s especially disappointing when overall Government spending has increased by 10% in real terms over the last 5 years that aid has been cut by over 30% in the same time. This is not fiscal austerity, it’s a choice the Government is making to divert funding from the world’s poorest and most needy and programs will be scaled-back as a result.”
“ Australia has traditionally responded to growing need and suffering with generosity in the past and this is not what the majority of Australians want from their government,” adds Nutt.
Last week a poll by Essential Media found six in every 10 voters agreed overseas aid should not be cut “to fund tax cuts” for big businesses.
“We need to set out a vision and a trajectory for aid to contribute our fair share in tackling the world’s most pressing challenges. Rebuilding the aid budget should reflect that we are willing to work together in partnership to help establish pathways out of poverty for the poorest people in our region but this is not the message we’re sending to our neighbours. We can not do this by giving only 19 cents for every $100 to aid.”
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