Report Offers Positive Roadmap for Australian Aid
1 April 2014 at 9:40 am
A Senate report on Australia’s international development program represents a return to a level of bipartisanship on aid funding, according to the peak council for Australian Not for Profit aid and development organisations.
Marc Purcell, Executive Director of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), says he welcomes the cross-party support for a strong overseas aid program that is represented in the report.
“Cuts and setbacks over the past two years have meant that programs to help the poorest people have been disrupted,” he said.
“The report represents a welcome return to a level of bipartisanship on aid funding, in particular through the Government and Opposition support for a recommendation on a time-bound commitment to spending 50 cents in every $100 of national income on aid.
“At the moment Australia spends just over 30 cents in every $100 of national income on combating global poverty.
“As one of the 20 richest nations in the world, we can do better. Australia should aim to reach the 50 cent target by 2020.
“Economic growth can lift people out of poverty. However, the litmus test for Australia’s $5 billion aid program must be that new policy directions target and benefit the poorest people.
“The challenge is to successfully bring the benefits of economic growth to the 1 billion people who have been excluded thus far. Taxpayers rightfully expect that our aid program benefits the poorest.
“Also welcome is the recommendation for the Government to release an overarching policy framework for the aid program.
“The report makes a further important recommendation that 10 per cent of the aid budget go to emergency and humanitarian response.
“Australia is situated in one of the most disaster-prone regions of the world. In 2011 alone, the UN estimates that the impact of disasters cost the Asia and Pacific region a staggering $294 billion in economic losses. On top of this, conflict is causing high refugee flows in a range of areas and the need far outweighs the funds available in crises like that facing the people of Syria.
“This report sets a positive roadmap for Australia’s aid program,” Purcell said. “We hope to work with members across the parliament in its implementation.”
To view the full report, click here.