Come clean, Mr Abbott – are you breaking your promise to the world’s poor?

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 19 May 2010

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott must come clean on whether he is proposing to cut spending to Australia’s aid program, Oxfam Australia said today.

Today the Coalition announced at least $294 million of savings by “removing” or “discontinuing” aid to help poor countries deal with the impacts of climate change.

However, on 23 April, in a foreign affairs speech to the Lowy Institute, Mr Abbott re-affirmed that the “Coalition would match the Government’s commitments on overseas aid.”

Mr Abbott also said, “this effort should be refocused to the areas where we can make the most impact and into the activities that most effectively reduce poverty.”

“Mr Abbott must explain whether he intends to stick to the scripted commitments he made in his speech last month,” said Oxfam Australia’s Executive Director Andrew Hewett.

“Does Mr Abbott plan to keep the promise he made to help the world’s poorest?”

The Coalition’s proposals include:

  • Remove funding – International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative: $178 million;
  • Remove funding for partnerships with multilateral agencies: $101 million;
  • Discontinue AusAID Climate Change funding: $15 million.

Mr Hewett said the Coalition must clarify whether it would reduce aid to the world’s poor, reneging on Mr Abbott’s scripted promise.

Both the Government and the Coalition have recently re-affirmed their commitment to increase Australia’s aid to levels of 0.5 per cent gross national income (GNI) by 2015.

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