Aid budget commitment could save 200,000 lives

World Vision Australia today welcomed the Federal Government’s move to deliver its promises on overseas aid.

“We congratulate the Government for staying on track in this year’s Budget to meet a commitment - made by both major parties - to allocate 0.5 percent of Australia’s national income to overseas aid by 2015,” World Vision’s CEO Tim Costello said.

“The 2011-12 aid budget is sensible and affordable and can save the lives of an estimated 200,000 people. It is also an investment that is helping make Australia safer and more prosperous.

“Australians can be justifiably proud that their aid budget reflects the great Australian tradition of helping those in need, especially our neighbours.

“Yet while the government reaffirmed its commitment to boost aid to 50 cents in every $100 of nation income by 2015, the latest budget still only places Australia 14th out of the world’s 23 richest nations when it comes to aid budgets.”

Rev Costello welcomed new aid programs to combat violence against women and a greater focus on primary education. World Vision also commended the focus on maternal health in the aid budget but called for a greater emphasis on health overall.

Approximately 8.1 million children die every year before they reach their 5th birthday, and 1000 women a day die from pregnancy or birth-related causes.

“The health of mothers and newborn children continues to be one of the urgent challenges of development and the funding allocated in this budget will make a real difference,” Rev Costello said.

The budget represented a greater emphasis on the Asia Pacific region where the vast majority of the world’s poor live. This region will now receive 50 percent of aid funding which is consistent with Australia’s national interest. There was also an increase in funding to least developed countries which is to be applauded.

“This budget means Australia is spending 35 cents in every $100 it earns, which is a responsible investment not only in those countries in our region, but also in our own national interest,” Rev Costello said.

He said it was also encouraging to see new initiatives to increase the transparency of the nation’s aid budget.

“Increasing the transparency of aid spending will improve the public’s trust in overseas aid and measures to improve accountability should be applauded,” Rev Costello said.


Tim Costello is available for media interviews. Please contact World Vision Australia’s media officer Sacha Myers on 0457 926 018.

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