World Vision Australia is calling on the Federal Government to rule out further cuts to an already depleted aid budget.
Chief executive Claire Rogers said stepping back from further aid commitments was short-term thinking and came at a time when need was greatest. According to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee Review released this week, Australia is not pulling its weight internationally.
“The review has encouraged Australia to find a way to reverse this trend. We are at risk of losing influence in global debates,” Ms Rogers said.
“Half of the 65 million people displaced from their homes are children. This is the largest displacement crisis on record. Countries like ours should be giving more to the world’s vulnerable, not less.”
“We know it empowers people to build better lives for themselves. Reducing our aid commitment now is short-term thinking.”
Australian aid retrofitted 150 Nepalese schools to withstand earthquakes, Ms Rogers said.
“When the 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit in 2015, all retrofitted school survived. More than 6000 other schools were severely damaged or destroyed. This demonstrates how effective aid can be.”
Media reported over Easter that the Government is considering cutting $400 million each year from the nation’s overseas aid budget. It follows years of aid budget cuts which have already taken the nation’s aid contribution as a percentage of Gross National Income to a record low of 0.22.
Ms Rogers welcomed a statement from Labor’s foreign affairs spokesperson Minister Penny Wong, committing to increased aid funding and a return to a bipartisan approach.
“Australians’ generous nature is not reflected in our Government’s aid contribution – we are compassionate and prosperous.
“We call on the Government to increase Australia’s aid budget to 0.33 per cent of GNI in the next six years.”
“In an age of globalisation, our prosperity depends on the prosperity of every other nation. Prioritising aid is in our national interest.
“Sturdy contribution to aid strengthens Australia’s voice in global conversations and improves our diplomatic power.”
Story Source: World Vision Australia