World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello has expressed concern at reports the Australian Government is set to cut foreign aid to help pay for military operations in Iraq and boosted security within Australia.
Mr Costello welcomed the Foreign Minister’s comments this morning that the Government will abide by their aid commitment and that there has been no discussion in Cabinet about a possible cut.
“Julie Bishop’s comments are a welcome relief from these reports,” said Mr Costello. “The Foreign Minister has done an outstanding job in articulating a new aid policy framework and it is critical that the Government maintains the current aid funding to ensure its success.”
Mr Costello called on the Prime Minister to commit to the existing aid funding level, saying the escalating conflict in the Middle East was reason to increase aid, not decrease it.
“The conflict in Syria and now Iraq has unleashed the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen in many, many years and it is unthinkable that we should respond to this need with anything but renewed commitment,” Mr Costello said.
“More than 10 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in Syria alone, more than half of those being children.
“Last week during discussions at the United Nations, I was informed that the World Food Program is suspending its programming in Syria for a month due to a lacking funding. This is the greatest humanitarian crisis on the globe right now and Australia is already underweight in its commitment to this crisis. Thus, any cut to aid is unimaginable in this climate.”