The Federal Budget figures released on Tuesday 8 May show the Australian Government has delayed delivering on a key aid promise which will mean $2.9 billion less for the world’s poor over the next four years.
More than a decade ago the Australian Government joined a worldwide agreement to halve
global poverty by 2015. As part of this agreement they promised to increase Australia’s aid
budget to 0.5 percent of national income by 2015. This promise was supported by all major
The Government’s decision to delay the increase to 2016/17 means $362 million has been lost
for aid in this year’s Budget.
“It’s very disappointing,” said World Vision Australia’s CEO, Tim Costello. “The delay of the
2015 commitment could cost the lives of an extra 250,000 people and have a huge impact on
the lives of many more.”
“Yet it is important to acknowledge the aid budget did increase – amid a tight Budget – a
reflection of the strong support for aid in the community.”
Despite difficult economic times, Australia is still one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
We have one of the highest incomes per person and our level of government debt is by far the
lowest of any major developed country.
“We are lucky in Australia that we can afford to respond to those in need at home as well as
providing life-saving aid to those beyond our borders. We don’t need to choose between one or
the other, we can do both,” Mr Costello said.
Mr Costello said there were welcome initiatives in the Budget including more funding directed
to the Asia Pacific region with new programs in PNG, the Pacific and Burma.
The Budget also included significant increases in funding for humanitarian emergencies, and boosted funding for UN agencies (including the World Food Program and UN Women) and aid
and development agencies.
It’s important we remind decision-makers that Australians care about keeping promises.
Write, call or email your MP and ask them to tell the Treasurer Wayne Swan and Prime Minister
Gillard they are disappointed the Government has delayed its promise to the world’s poor.