TREASURER Joe Hockey tonight announced that there would be no additional cuts to the current allocation of Australian aid funding in the 2015/16 Federal Budget.
The total amount of funding will be approximately $4 billion for the 2015/16 financial year, the lowest level since records began.
Oaktree’s CEO Chris Wallace said, “As a voice for young Australians, we are deeply disappointed that tonight, the government have announced some of the biggest cuts to our Australian aid program, as promised in last year’s budget.”
“This decision takes us further away from the globally recognised target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI), and even further from the 0.5 per cent that the Coalition stood by in the lead-up to the 2013 election.”
At present the Australian government allocates just 0.22 per cent of GNI, or 22 cents in every $100, to Australian aid.
“In the past year alone we have seen tragedy after tragedy shock the entire globe, from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to the recent earthquakes in Nepal. Australian aid ensures that regions like these have an increased ability to cope with the effects of such events.
“As a nation, Australians can and should be proud of the role we play in assisting our neighbours in times of need, and also in creating a sustainable future for our region,” said Chris.
In 2013 Australian aid was responsible for enabling 1.3 million children to enrol in school, gave 2.9 million people access to safe drinking water, and vaccinated more than 2.3 million children worldwide – all with less than 1 per cent of the Federal budget.
“Oaktree remains committed to ensuring that the voice of young people is heard by the Australian government. The Prime Minister described this budget as both ‘responsible’ and ‘fair’, but we do not believe that there is anything responsible or fair, or indeed ‘dull’, about a budget that harms the most vulnerable members of our global community,” said Chris.
The Campaign for Australian Aid is a coalition of partners in the Australian development sector. Over the past month they have enabled more than 14,000 Australians to directly email the Treasurer voicing their support for Australian aid funding.