UNICEF Australia has called on the Federal Government to stem the flow of losses from the foreign aid budget.
The $3.7bn in aid cuts Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has been reported as saying are required to offset new security measures and a commitment to return Australian troops to Iraq will also place Australia among the world’s most tight-fisted of international aid donors and leave the heavy lifting to others, UNICEF Australia Chief Executive Norman Gillespie said.
“If today’s reports are true, these further devastating cuts to Australia’s aid program are deeply disappointing,” Dr Gillespie said.
“The cuts ignore the past year’s dire need for humanitarian aid and leaves the task of rebuilding and saving lives to others,” he said.
“Global action and aid has halved the number of children dying daily but there are still 17,000 children who will die today and without Australia’s input, we’re leaving the heavy lifting to others.”
Australia is currently the fourth wealthiest OECD country with the sixth lowest debt, Dr Gillespie said. Further cuts to the foreign aid budget would see Australia towards the bottom of wealthy donor countries.
“The great tragedy is we have made great inroads to stop children dying. The Federal Government made a promise to increase our foreign aid contributions but has effectively said this promise no longer matters.
“Cuts of this magnitude will leave the aid program at breaking point and put us a decade behind achieving our promise to the world’s poor,” Dr Gillespie said.
Source: UNICEF Australia