International development agency Oxfam Australia has applauded the Government’s move to increase the aid budget and stay on track to meet the bipartisan commitment to the world’s poorest people.
Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett said: “This is a good news story. The money will save lives and help some of the world’s poorest men, women and children.
“Honouring our commitment to helping people find a path out of poverty will not only improve lives, but it’s also good for all Australians to be living in a more stable and prosperous region.
“It’s positive to see a schedule for steady growth in the aid program. This is a responsible step towards fulfilling the bipartisan commitment on aid.”
Under a commitment agreed to by both major parties back in 2007, Australia’s overseas aid budget will reach 0.5 per cent of our national income by 2015.
This year is also a critical time for Australia’s aid program as the Government is currently considering its response to the recently completed independent review of aid effectiveness.
The review, the first in 15 years, will help to ensure the effectiveness of the aid program, and make sure our aid dollars are having the greatest, positive impact on the lives of poor people.
Even with the growth in Australia’s aid program, we rank just 15 out of the world’s 23 richest nations in terms of aid budgets.
Mr Hewett said despite difficult economic times, Australia is still one of the world’s wealthiest countries.
“We can afford to help those at home and provide aid to those overseas who are less fortunate than ourselves.”
With just several years until the 2015 deadline for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals – which aim to halve global poverty – Mr Hewett said it was positive to see Australia’s aid budget moving in the right direction.
Aid is already making a real difference to people’s lives. Australian aid has helped to eradicate polio in the region. Around the world, 40 million children who never would have learned to read and write are now at school thanks to money from rich countries.