World Poverty Priorities Slipping Despite Federal Budget Funding Boost
Wednesday, 12th May 2010 at 4:44 pm
The Federal Budget's increase to Australia’s overseas aid program of an extra half a billion dollars for 2010/2011 has been welcomed by aid agencies but they are concerned the funding priorities are slipping back.
And supporters of the Make Poverty History campaign are descending on Canberra to put their concerns to Federal MPs.
Campaigners and aid groups say the funding boost will make a difference to the lives of millions, however they are concerned that new money is not targeting the most urgent priorities of saving the lives of mothers and children under five, and helping the poor cope with climate change.
Make Poverty History says closer analysis of where the aid budget is being spent shows no new money for climate change in this financial year and a decrease in the proportion of Australia’s aid going to health initiatives.
Tim Costello, the co-chair of the Make Poverty History campaign and CEO of World Vision says the world’s poorest people should never have to choose between saving mothers during pregnancy and childbirth or helping their communities cope with climate change.
He says poor communities need to be resourced to tackle all the threats that prevent them from moving out of poverty and climate change is already having a significant impact on water and food security in poor countries, and this will only increase as climate change worsens.
Over 1000 Make Poverty History supporters are arriving in Canberra today (Wednesday 12th May) by the busload after having travelled through towns across Australia raising awareness about global poverty.
Campaigners will be meeting with 143 MPs over breakfast on Thursday to discuss how the Australian Government can deliver its fair share through more aid, better quality aid programs and to protect the poor from the impacts of climate change.
Make Poverty History co-chair and Oxfam Australia’s Executive Director Andrew Hewett it is clear that aid works – it has seen more children go to school in Africa, equipped people in the Pacific to grow more food to feed their families, and helped keep the health system in the Solomon Islands running.
In the lead-up to the federal election later this year, the Make Poverty History coalition of over 60 NGOs is organising Town Hall forums, 5th Birthday Parties and hundreds of meetings with MPs as the movement calling for action against poverty swells.
Make Poverty History has called on the government to make a timetabled commitment to the international standard of 0.7%GNI for overseas aid and supports innovative financing initiatives like the Robin Hood Tax, a tiny tax on financial institutions that would provide billions to tackle global poverty and climate change.
The campaign says that with 1.4 billion people still in extreme poverty and just five years to go to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, Australia has a long way to go to do its fair share.