Attention on foreign aid welcome

World Vision Australia has welcomed the entry of global poverty issues into the Federal Election campaign, with the Labor Party, the Liberal Party and the Australian Greens all releasing statements on international development today. 

“The debate on foreign affairs was a late starter in this year’s election,” said World Vision’s CEO Tim Costello. “It is an important issue to many Australians and deserves proper scrutiny.” 

“An overwhelming majority of Australians support providing assistance to developing countries. The fact that thousands of Australians donate to World Vision each year shows that people are concerned about issues beyond our borders. 

“The most pleasing aspect of these policies is the bipartisan support for overseas development assistance of 0.5 percent of Gross National Income by 2015.” 

Rev Costello also welcomed commitments to appoint a Minister for International Development and to elevate AusAID to an independent government department. 

“We are pleased to note that in both the Greens’ and Coalition’s statements there is a proposal to appoint a Minister for Development Assistance – a move that recognises the importance of the aid portfolio,” he said. 

Rev Costello said the Labor commitment to additional investment and increased focus on preventing child deaths and improving maternal mortality rates was also heartening. 

“Effective, low cost prevention and treatment strategies are available to cut most early deaths in developing countries,” he said. 

“Greater assistance for health is among the most cost effective and proven investments we can make, and the results are the difference between life and death. 

“However the issue that is missing is food security. Today 1 billion people will go to bed hungry. The share of the aid program dedicated to agriculture and food security, including nutrition, needs to be increased to make progress on the first Millennium Development Goal. 

“It is encouraging that all three parties have significantly progressed their thinking on overseas aid. Hopefully this progress will continue.” 


Martin Thomas, World Vision’s Head of Advocacy, is available for media interviews. 

Media contact: Sacha Myers on 0457 926 018.

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