Greens Aid Plan will Increase Foreign Funding
Tuesday, 14th June 2016 at 4:29 pm
The Greens have pledged to increase Australia’s overseas aid to the tune of nearly $8 billion, in a move welcomed by the country’s peak body for aid and development.
According to a party statement, overseas aid would be increased to 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) over the coming decade. The Parliamentary Budget Office has put the cost at $7.97 billion over forward estimates.
The plan emphasises the need to create programs that alleviate poverty and empower recipient communities instead of increasing dollars to deliver effective aid.
It includes provisions for additional increases in the event of natural disasters or conflicts that require major humanitarian interventions. Emergency relief will be provided independently from the political, economic or military objectives of the Australian government.
The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) said the plan sets the Greens apart from major political parties.
“If implemented, that level of funding would mean Australia’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals was being matched by resourcing and, if all countries joined Australia in reaching that level of aid, we could eradicate extreme poverty by 2030,” CEO Marc Purcell said.
“Given the growing rate, size and effects of natural disasters and international conflicts on vulnerable people, ACFID believes Australia’s humanitarian emergency fund should be doubled.”
A climate change assistance program that will primarily target the Asia Pacific region will also be set up with fresh funds in order to put a stop to the redirection of aid from existing programs.
Aid will also be directed towards strengthening health systems to address sexual and reproductive health, and the prevention of HIV-AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and noncommunicable diseases.
ChildFund, a Not for Profit that promotes children’s rights, commended the Greens on their recognition of gender equality in international development programs.
“ChildFund’s experience points to the fact that poverty disproportionately affects women and girls,” CEO Nigel Spence said.
“However, we are also witness to the high return on investment where programs are implemented which address discrimination and disadvantage for women and girls.
“The Australian Aid program helps to save lives. The data shows that globally six million fewer children die today than in 1990. Australian Aid has contributed to this achievement.
“Our aid program also provides real benefits at home – stability and peace in our region, new trading markets for Australian businesses, and greater collaboration with our nearest neighbours. Supporting Australian Aid is not only the morally right thing to do, it makes good economic sense.”
To ensure transparency and accountability, the Greens will establish an independent department to oversee aid delivery and effectiveness.
Read the full plan here.