THE Foreign Minister’s innovationXchange – to be launched today – puts forward a compelling case for maintaining or increasing the overseas aid budget, aid and development agency World Vision said yesterday.
World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello said speculation that Australia’s aid program may take another beating at the next Federal Budget is of deep concern to him and the aid sector, and could potentially impact the world’s most vulnerable people.
“The Foreign Minister’s innovation hub is an important new development,” Mr Costello said. “It is critical that Australia’s contribution to the world through our aid program makes the most of new technologies, and is modern and forward-thinking.
“So it is worrying to see reports in today’s media that the Australian aid budget may be at risk of yet another cut. We’ve already seen $11 billion slashed from the program last year and our aid is now at its least generous level in history.
“The Government’s innovation hub puts forward a compelling case to maintain Australia’s aid budget at current levels, or indeed to increase it, so it would be utterly bizarre to see more funds removed at this time. It’s a matter of simple logic – good ideas need money to be realised.”
Mr Costello said the innovation hub was part of a trend in a number of donor countries to link better with business for innovative solutions, and the concept is likely to continue to build support internationally over the coming years.
“I’m very pleased to see the initial focus of the innovationXchange is on health, and tackling intractable poverty-related issues,” Mr Costello said. “I’m also pleased to note the Government sees a role for civil society.
“While the amount of money being offered for the start-up of this concept is not huge, it is large enough to generate outcomes in its initial phase, especially when supplemented with contributions from civil society and the private sector. The question will be, how can we fund the scaling up of the winning ideas?”
Source: World Vision Australia
Image Source: Mark Calleja Source: News Corp Australia