16 June 2014
The national projects coordinator of Australian Catholic Religious Against trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) has described the Budget's cuts to foreign aid as a 'national disgrace'.
Christine Carolan said 'our aid budget funds among other things access to clean drinking water, education programmes for girls, and counter human trafficking initiatives in our South-east Asian region. These are essentials for some of the world’s poorest people, and yet they come and go at the whim of the Australian treasurer.'
'In our advocacy work in the past two years, we have called on the Australian government to commit to an aid budget of at least 0.7% of GNI by 2015-16. This was the vision of the global community when the UN developed the millennium development goals as our planet began the new millennium – we could eradicate extreme poverty by shouldering our responsibility to build a more just world.
'And how does Australia shape up now, one year away from the 2015-16 target? At present, the foreign aid budget is 0.33% and will, after this budget, be 0.29% in 2017-18. This is a national disgrace. And it needs to be trumpeted in the media.'
In 1970, the economically developed nations committed to allocating O.7% of GDP in the form of Aid to address global poverty. That commitment has been repeatedly re-affirmed as a means of meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Only Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and Luxembourg have consistently met that target. The revised aid contribution places Australia among the least generous of donor nations.