THE Government’s first annual report on the performance of the Australian Aid Program highlights why they must reverse cuts to the aid budget, Oxfam said yesterday.
In 2013-2014 the Australian aid program provided 2.9 million people with increased access to safe water, brought 2 million people access to hygiene and provided 1 million with basic sanitation – life-changing actions that saved lives and helped people lift themselves out of poverty.
The report, Performance of Australian Aid 2013-14, found significant improvements in overall performance in all regions, including East Asia and the Pacific, with an average of 67.5 per cent of programs assessed as being on track, up from 50.25 per cent in 2012-2013.
Oxfam’s Director of Public Engagement, Pam Anders, said the report reinforced the need to increase, not decrease, funding to the Australian aid budget, which has been slashed by $11.3 billion since September 2013.
“Why is the government undermining taxpayer investment by cutting the aid program when its own report confirms what Oxfam supporters know – aid works and it makes a positive difference in people’s lives?” Ms Anders asked.
“This investment also affects Australia’s interests economically, politically and in terms of stability in our region.
“This report sets a benchmark. This time next year, the report could look very different if the Government does not reverse its aid cuts and restore aid volumes.”
Ahead of the 2013 election the Coalition promised to increase aid funding, but cuts announced since they came to power will gouge 20 per cent out of Australia’s aid program, taking our aid effort to its lowest level in history.
Ms Anders said the Performance of Australian Aid 2013-14 report highlighted the need for greater investment in priority areas, such as ensuring there is a strong focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment across all programs to make sure gender targets are met.
“What the report shows is a program Australians can be proud of, that is reaching people across the Indo-Pacific region with life-saving and life-changing assistance,” Ms Anders said.
“Instead of unravelling this program that embodies the Australian belief in a fair go for all, the Government should be maintaining the aid commitments they put to the Australian people ahead of the election.”
Source: Oxfam Australia