21 May 2016
Aid Groups Welcome Pledge to Reverse Last Aid Cut
Australian humanitarian relief and development groups today welcomed a pledge to reverse the latest $224 million cut to the Australian aid program made by the Australian Labor Party if elected and called on the Coalition Government to match it.
The Campaign for Australian Aid, made up of more than 60 leading aid and development organisations and the hundreds of thousands of Australians who support them, also called on all political parties to commit to repairing the aid budget.
Earlier this month, the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, announced he was going ahead with a further $224 million reduction to the aid budget.
Campaign Director for the Campaign for Australian Aid, Tony Milne, welcomed the announcement saying that it had the potential to bring an end to three consecutive years of cuts that had seen a third of funding slashed from the aid budget.
“The announcement to restore the most recent aid cut of $224 million committed by the Australian Labor Party is an important first step towards repairing the Australian aid budget to a fairer level,” Mr Milne said. “And we call on the Coalition Government to match it,” Mr Milne said.
“Australians and people all around the world are working together so that everyone has the same opportunity to live a free, happy and healthy life. Australian aid is the contribution Australians make to a fairer and more equal world for everyone.”
The Chief Executive of World Vision, Tim Costello, challenged the Coalition to match the pledge to restore the most recent aid cut, saying it was time to return to a bipartisan policy.
“We need to think of these cuts not in terms of dollars but in terms of the impact they have on real lives,” Mr Costello said. “Every time we cut, it is the opportunity for education we cut, the wellbeing of children and teenagers in the world’s most vulnerable communities we cut; this is actually what is being trashed.”
Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said: “Australian aid has such a dramatic impact on people’s lives, yet it is less than one per cent of federal spending – in reality a tiny proportion of the budget. It’s time for Australia to join with other global nations and start doing our fair share.”
“As Australians, we should support a Federal Budget that reflects the values of our nation – commitments to justice and compassion. I am encouraged to see people from all walks of life across Australia are speaking up in agreement with the view that we should not balance the budget on the backs of the poor,” said TEAR Australia CEO Matthew Maury.
“Helping our neighbours is not only intrinsic to our Australian values, it is critical to our national interest, and it should rise above partisan politics. A thriving aid program helps reduce instability while guarding against outbreaks of disease and promoting economic growth in our region. It’s not only good for our neighbours, it’s good for us,” said Paul Ronalds, CEO of Save the Children Australia.
If you’d like to arrange an interview or photo opportunity, please contact Sarah Cannata on 0407 536 133.
About Campaign for Australian Aid
The Campaign for Australian Aid is a joint initiative of the Make Poverty History and Micah Australia coalitions, for all Australians who believe we can and should do more as a nation to end extreme poverty around the world. It represents over 65 aid and development organisations, church, business and community groups.
Authorised by Tony Milne, 1/4 Solwood Ln, Blackburn VIC