Let’s have that debate about Australian aid: ACFID

THE Australian aid and development sector welcomes Senator Jacqui Lambie taking up the debate about the value of the Australian aid program.

“It’s a debate we need to have. It’s a debate that goes to the heart of who we are as nation. It is about our sense of fairness,” Mr Marc Purcell the Executive Director of the Australian Council for International Development said.

“As a nation we value fairness more than any other Australian attribute. Australian aid is a powerful expression of our belief that everyone should have a fair go.

“As one of the wealthiest nations in the world, we don’t have to choose between Australian aid helping others and helping Australians. As a country, we are big enough, wealthy enough, and generous enough to do both.

“You can’t just sit in your backyard and ignore the neighborhood. Jacqui Lambie has suggested that Australia cannot borrow money from overseas only to give it away again in the form of aid.

“But the Australian Government, like all governments around the world, borrows to fund its expenditure in a range of areas, not just for foreign aid. Borrowing to fund expenditure is a normal part of the budgetary process.

“Moreover, the Government raises revenue from a large number of taxation sources. In its 2015-16 Federal Budget Submission ACFID argues that it is simply not credible to single out one area of expenditure, namely Australia’s aid program, and state that it should not be funded from the same sources that all Government expenditure is funded from.

“To accept this argument would be akin to urging Australian households to not give to charity while they have a mortgage.

“And a word on figures: Senator Lambie is concerned that we will be spending $5bn each year for the next five years on the Australian aid program. Unfortunately that’s just not the case.

“The Australian aid budget will be $4 billion next financial year (if Mr Hockey sticks to his word and there are no more cuts). By 2016-17 it will only be $3.8 billion.

“We welcome the opportunity to have a debate about why we have an Australian aid program, why we need it to be properly funded and how it helps us live up to our sense of national fairness,” Mr Purcell said.

Source: ACFID

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities and currently works at Redkite, a childhood cancer charity.

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