THE Defence Minister Kevin Andrews on Friday, April 10 met with representatives from Oaktree, Australia’s largest youth-led anti-poverty organisation, to discuss Australia’s aid contributions in the lead up to the May budget.
In the meeting Andrews said that the target of 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) for Australian aid which had bipartisan support before the 2013 election is a realistic target for the government.
Since the 2013 election the Abbott government has already cut $11.3 billion from the Australian aid budget, leaving it at only 0.22 per cent of GNI by 2017/2018.
The meeting comes just weeks after speculation of further cuts to the Australian aid budget were brought to a close by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
Andrews professed to not be aware of any further cuts to the Australian aid budget but said he would be happy to talk to the Foreign Minister about it.
Stacey Batterham, Oaktree’s Director of Political Engagement, said “We need to broaden the debate surrounding national security in this country. Australian aid provides a method of investing in long-term regional stability and preventing conflict before it becomes both costly and damaging to the sustainability of local communities.”
Andrews met with two Oaktree volunteers from his Menzies electorate, Krislyn Tan and Michael Truong.
For more information about Oaktree and its campaigns visit www.oaktree.org.
Image Source: Michael and Krislyn – who are involved with the Oaktree Foundation – together with Defence Minister Kevin Andrews MP (Image Source: Kevin Andrews MP).