David Knox, member of the Trade and Investment Policy Advisory Council and former CEO of Santos, shares the first time he became aware of how important overseas aid is.
Watch what Knox has to say below.
As you would have heard, Knox lived in Pakistan 16 years ago where he saw the value of Australia’s aid program first-hand. Schools were built in rural Pakistan, educating girls and these young women went on to educate their families, lifting standard education levels in the region immensely.
Meanwhile, local men showed their support for the program, reiterating to Knox how aid has the capacity to make a real difference – to governance and education while assisting businesses to build trust with both the government and locals.
Knox saw this once again while travelling to PNG with Trade Minister Andrew Robb, describing how the Australian government, working together with businesses, Australian business leaders, the people of PNG and its government, is pure magic.
This proves that when aid is well targeted, well managed and works alongside business and trusted figures such as Andrew Robb, it paves the way for businesses to gain trust. Once this trust is established, this enables Australian businesses to go into countries such as PNG because they are not solely there for commercial reasons: they’re willing to work alongside the government and locals to make a difference and invest within the community.
Everything Knox says reflects that aid is a national value that all Australians pride themselves on, regardless of who they vote for and where they work. Something that is evident in the fact that public donations have been steadily increasing since 2011 and now, these generous donations actually represent the largest source of funding for NGOs. Meanwhile, public support for increasing the aid budget has also been steadily rising since the 2014 Budget was unveiled and then Treasure Joe Hockey announced the largest aid cuts in Australia’s history. According to Roy Morgan polling, support for lifting aid to help reduce overseas poverty now stands at an average of 74.5% (taken from the 12 month period extending from January 15 to December 15).
Add to this the 28,703 passionate people who donate their time to help Australian aid and development NGOs and it’s clear Australians support aid.
Now, it’s over to Malcolm Turnbull and his new government to take the first steps towards repairing the aid budget by scrapping the proposed $224m cuts scheduled for 2016/2017.