More Cuts to Foreign Aid Unthinkable - NFPs
2 December 2014 at 10:13 am
Amid growing speculation of further foreign aid cuts, Australia’s aid agency peak body and Not for Profits working in the field have warned of potentially devastating consequences for current relief efforts, describing further cuts as ‘unthinkable’.
World Vision Australia has called on the Government to maintain its current funding levels to the Australian aid program, saying the foreign aid program is the flagship of Australia’s foreign policy, and urged the Prime Minister to commit to existing aid levels.
Media reports have suggested that the Federal Government is looking at further aid cuts despite support by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to maintain existing funding levels.
“World Vision urges Prime Minister Tony Abbott to maintain the aid funding levels committed to in the May budget. The devastating spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa and continuing escalation of conflict in the Middle East are reasons to increase aid, not decrease it,”Manager of Political Engagement for World Vision, Andrew Johnson said.
“The Ebola virus continues to ravage West Africa and it is unthinkable that we would create further uncertainty and instability in the region through further funding cuts.
“Syria is facing the greatest humanitarian crisis on the globe right now and Australia is already underweight in its commitment to this crisis. 10.8 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, more than half of those being children. Thus, any cut to aid is unimaginable in this climate.
“Closer to home, aid plays a key role in breaking down barriers which limit people’s potential in areas of economic and social development. Cuts over the previous two years have already proven damaging to the Australian aid sector with predictability key to the achievement of ongoing aid effectiveness.
“World Vision continues to partner with the Australian Government and work towards delivery of a generous and effective aid program, committed funding levels remain a key part of this success.”
The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the peak body for Not for Profit aid and humanitarian organisations, said it is deeply concerned by the potential impact of further cuts to Australia’s aid program.
“Australia’s aid budget should not be raided as if it were a piggy-bank. Our aid program is vital to helping the world’s poorest people,” ACFID’s Executive Director, Marc Purcell said.
“Australian aid makes an enormous difference to millions of people in our neighbourhood – getting kids in schools, providing life-saving medication to women and children, and delivering humanitarian support in times of natural disasters.”
“More than 20 per cent of total budget savings in the past year have already come from the Australian aid program.
“Any further hacking into Australia’s aid program would be grossly unfair and would seriously undermine the Government’s recently announced new aid policy.
“The Foreign Minister has shown leadership by developing a comprehensive aid framework and has described aid as the flagship of Australia’s foreign policy. All Australians, including the 2 million Australian households that donate to ACFID members, want to see our nation make a positive difference in this world.
“Aid is vital to ensuring a stable region, which is a critical component of Australia’s national security.”