Coalition trumps US with double the aid cuts
Tonight’s $303 million aid cuts mean the Abbott-Turnbull Government have now cut the Australian aid budget by more than 50 per cent of what was promised – more than double the size of the proposed US cuts, World Vision Chief Advocate Tim Costello said today.
“The Coalition has cut the aid budget to half of what it was supposed to be,” said Tim Costello.
“Trump has made clear he wants to cut the US aid budget by close to 28 per cent. Congress is fighting this but in Australia, the Coalition have beaten him to it.”
Responding to tonight’s announced $303 million cut Mr Costello said today’s aid levels are less than half what they would have been if the Coalition had stuck to the bipartisan commitment of allocating 0.5 per cent of GNI to the aid budget.
“Both sides of politics committed to 50 cents in every $100 going to aid but in the four years since the Coalition took power in 2013, they have systematically cut the aid budget.
“So tonight our ability as one of the richest nations, to assist the world’s most vulnerable people, is less than half what it should have been.”
A fresh $303 million will be cut from the aid budget through a temporary freeze on aid spending from mid-2018 was announced in tonight’s budget. It will see Australian aid stall at $4.01 billion and remain static until indexation resumes in 2021/2022.
Mr Costello said it was disgrace that the sector’s ability to plan and deliver effective aid was being further undermined in the latest blow to an aid budget that has already been slashed by more than $11 billion with four years of consecutive cuts.
Mr Costello said that Instead of this being a day of celebration about Australia doing its fair share as a prosperous, compassionate country – the fourth consecutive cut will leave the aid languishing 50 per cent lower than it should be.
“World Vision had been hoping for a visionary budget that recognised that the aid budget was more than a moral imperative, it helps further Australia’s interests.
“A visionary budget would have doubled the emergency fund and invested in prevention.
“We welcome multi-year funding for Iraq as this will allow a more long-term planned approach to a protracted crisis, and we acknowledge that additional funding will be directed to protracted crises in Somalia, South Sudan and Myanmar,” Mr Costello said.
To arrange an interview with Tim Costello please contact Mary-Louise O’Callaghan on 0427 413 816 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture: South Sudanese mother Abuk with twins NyalNyal and Tyel, 2 years old. Her husband has left to work in Sudan; she doesn’t receive support from him.
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Many have walked for hours to get to World Vision's food distribution point.