Save the Children has today welcomed the announcements made by Opposition Deputy Leader and Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek MP, that a Labor government would begin to restore some of the record cuts made to the foreign aid budget by the Abbott Coalition Government.
The announcement, made at the annual Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) conference in Sydney, included provision of an additional $30 million to Australian NGOs annually, a new $10 million planning and research program and a greater focus on accountability and transparency.
Acting CEO Mat Tinkler said: “Successive and vicious cuts have slashed billions from our overseas aid budget leaving the country as the least generous it’s ever been. These promises from Labor are a welcome step in the direction of righting that wrong. We know all too well that every dollar slashed from Australia’s aid budget is a lost opportunity to save a life, or give a child a life changing education to help lift them out of poverty.
“We welcome the focus on the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) – proven to give the best return on investment of Australian dollars. The program doubles taxpayer’s bang for their buck by matching government funding with money raised by NGOs. Save the Children has had huge success with ANCP programs in Ethiopia, Indonesia and Vanuatu helping some of the most vulnerable children to survive and thrive,” he added.
The children’s charity also welcomed Labor’s pledge to legislate for transparency and effectiveness in overseas aid and called for bipartisan commitment to independent evaluations of the aid program.
“Despite great progress in poverty reduction, 14 per cent of the world’s population are still living in extreme poverty, around half of them children. We know that Australian Aid can and does make a difference but we also need to ensure it is being invested in the best and most effective ways possible.
“The scale of the challenges in our own region is vast and Australia has a vital role to play. The Pacific suffers from ongoing challenges of malnutrition, food security and hunger. Asia is home to the largest number of people living in extreme poverty. Asia and the Pacific are highly susceptible to natural disasters and also host the largest number of refugees and displaced people in the world,” Mr Tinkler said.
Save the Children continues to call for bipartisan commitment to:
– At a minimum, immediately restore the aid budget from its current $4 billion to $5 billion now, and increase it each year in line with inflation
– Set a credible path to increase aid to 0.5% of national income, in line with the previous bipartisan agreement
– Continue to invest aid funds in education, health and nutrition, where returns are high and aid has the greatest impact on vulnerable children
– Invest at least 10% of the aid budget to meet rising humanitarian needs in our region
– Continue measures to improve aid effectiveness including benchmarks and performance reporting
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.