Oxfam Australia welcomes foreign aid review

Media Releases article written on the 16 Nov 2010

Oxfam Australia welcomed Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd’s announcement today of an independent review of Australia’s aid and development program, and his commitment to include NGOs in the process.

Oxfam Australia Acting Executive Director James Ensor said the review should ensure that aid spending is effective as possible so that it can transform the lives of the world’s poorest people.

“Oxfam Australia has led calls for a review of the Australian aid program for a while, and we welcome today’s announcement.

“At a time when Australia’s aid volume is growing to reach historic levels, and with five years until the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, there is a pressing need to take stock of our aid budget.

“The increase in our aid budget provides us with the opportunity to do so much more for the world’s poor, but we need to make the most of this moment by making sure we spend it properly,” Mr Ensor said.

Mr Ensor said that Oxfam Australia, as an aid and development agency with more than 50 years of experience, looks forward to actively contributing to the review process.

“What Oxfam Australia has found in our development work is that local communities and their accountable governments are best placed to know which projects are likely to work, and we hope the review will look at ways to give them a greater voice,” Mr Ensor said.

Oxfam Australia welcomes the focus of the review, in particular:

• Greater accountability and transparency to Australian taxpayers about how aid money is spent, while also encouraging public understanding of why investing in poverty eradication is vitally important.

• Consultation with Australian NGOs, multilateral and civil society organisations who are centrally involved in aid delivery and can draw on extensive experience and learning from their own programs.

• The need for strategies to properly address the fact that many of the poorest of the poor now live in middle countries, as well as least developed countries.

For more information or to interview James Ensor, please contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Sunita Bose on 0407 555 960.