Peak Body Calls for Reversal Of Cuts From Aid Budget
26 April 2016 at 10:14 am
The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) has called on the federal government to reverse proposed cuts to the aid and development budget.
The move comes on the heels of the launch of the Australian Engagement with Developing Countries, also called the Green Book, by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
It provides a comprehensive look into the overall support the government provides to developing countries in the Indo-Pacific region through aid for 2014 to 2015, including a breakdown of aid funding to sectors such as health, education and governance.
Marc Purcell, CEO of AFCID, said that the government’s return to this kind of transparency was important for improving the development program overall.
He said that he hopes the Green Book will become a mainstay of annual reporting on Australia’s development program, and that in the future it will include information that was once available in the Federal Budget Blue Books, like forward estimates and more program detail.
“Information like this allows the government to show the Australian public how their tax dollars are contributing to the important work of building more sustainable futures for the poorest people, as well as building a secure and prosperous region for Australia,” Purcell said.
“This is a particularly welcome publication given that transparency around aid spending has declined significantly over the past few years and ACFID has been calling for greater transparency for some time now.
“As we head towards the Federal Budget on 3 May we look forward to a positive response from the government to our calls to reverse scheduled cuts of $224 million to the aid and development program, and to lead Australia’s engagement with our neighbours by rebuilding our aid program over the next three years.”
A joint statement from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, and the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, said that rapid economic growth in countries of the Indo-Pacific region meant that they were now making the transition from aid recipients to economic partners.