Foreign Aid Program To Include People With Disability
26 May 2015 at 10:25 am
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has launched a new strategy within Australia’s aid program to strengthen the inclusion of people with disabilities in developing countries.
Bishop said the strategy recognises that everyone is affected if the most disadvantaged people are left behind, and acknowledges that people with disabilities make up one of the largest and most disadvantaged minorities in the world.
“Development for All 2015-2020: Strategy for strengthening disability-inclusive development in Australia’s aid program will support people with disabilities in developing countries to find pathways out of poverty and realise their potential,” Bishop said.
“Ensuring our aid investments include people with disability is not only good development practice contributing to poverty reduction, it boosts sustainable economic growth and creates better development outcomes for all.
“Through the strategy, Australia will continue to promote disability-inclusive education, help remove physical barriers through our infrastructure investments, and work with partner governments to enhance access to vital services. We will help build resilience to disasters and conflict through inclusive humanitarian assistance.
“Australia will also continue to support disabled people’s organisations in developing countries, which play a vital role in giving people with disabilities a voice.
“A focus of the strategy is on better data collection – through gathering reliable, internationally comparable data on people with disabilities. This is critical so that people with disabilities are visible in the global development agenda.
“Through our diplomatic network and our aid investments, Australia will continue to work with partners to overcome the stigma and discrimination that still exists for people with disability and that are among the greatest barriers to full participation in community and economic life,” she said.
The Strategy paper said that UN figures show that there is a clear link between disability and poverty, with 80 per cent of people with disabilities living in developing countries, and one-in-five of the world’s poorest having a disability.
“Furthermore,people with disabilities and their families are more likely to be poor and remain poor as a result of higher living costs, barriers to education, health and employment opportunities, and unpaid caring responsibilities,” the Strategy paper said.
The May Federal Budget delivered the biggest single-year cut to foreign aid in Australia’s history, a move that the Not for Profit sector said would hurt the country’s international reputation.
The Budget revealed that $1 billion, or 20 per cent of Australia’s current foreign aid budget, would be cut, bringing the total cuts to the aid program since the Government was elected to $11.3 billion.