ASSUMING billions of savings can be harvested from Australia’s aid budget over the next 40 years is not only unfair but will be completely unsustainable according to World Vision Chief Executive, Tim Costello.
Speaking following today’s release of the Federal Treasury’s fourth Intergenerational Report, Mr Costello said planning for zero growth in Australian aid is not smart, plausible or consistent with who we are as a nation.
“As our world constantly grows smaller and the conflicts and conditions of nations that are not even our neighbours, start to have a very real impact on Australians in Australia, it is completely implausible to assume that there will be no real growth in our already much diminished aid budget.
“Such a prediction doesn’t speak to who we are as a nation, particularly our long cherished notion of a fair go,” Mr Costello said.
“If we want to live in a stable world then we will need to invest not only in relieving the suffering of the world’s poor but also investing in the potential of coming generations around the world.”
Mr Costello said it was implausible to suggest that the long term fiscal challenges for Australia could be solved simply by cutting Australia’s aid budget.
“While cutting aid makes the world of difference to the world’s poorest people, it makes very little difference to our budget’s bottom line.
“Intergenerational equity is a critical issue, however maintaining benefits and tax concessions to today’s wealthy at the expense of the next generation in developing countries is another form of intergenerational theft that all of us should be worried about,” he said.
The report identifies that only the Netherlands has sustained economic growth similar to Australia over the past 40 years and yet they have maintained a much more generous commitment to the world’s poor.
“Only one other country has matched our growth and that is Netherlands yet their aid budget is close to 0.7 per cent of GNI compared with ours heading towards a meagre 0.22 per cent.”
Source: World Vision Australia
Image Source: Tim Costello (Source: ABC.net.au).