International aid agency Oxfam Australia is calling on the Prime Minister Julia Gillard to overrule Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s decision to cut aid programs.
Oxfam Australia acting Executive Director Alexia Huxley said Ms Gillard should be doing more to champion the importance of Australia’s role in helping to fight global poverty.
Ms Huxley said given the Prime Minister’s recent appointment as co-chair of a UN advocacy group on the Millennium Development Goals, her leadership in this area was even more important.
“Now is the time for Prime Minister Gillard to lead by example and restore the integrity of Australia’s overseas aid program.
“Supporting refugees in Australia is vital, and it forms part of our international responsibilities and human rights obligations, but it’s not overseas aid.
“Overseas aid is meant to be used to help poor people in poor countries overcome poverty.
“Minister Carr is using a technical argument derived from the fine print to cover up a cut to the aid program,” Ms Huxley said.
Oxfam welcomed comments this week from the acting Opposition Leader Julie Bishop that overseas aid spending is meant to be for the development of poor countries.
Ms Huxley said to make these statements meaningful, Ms Bishop must call on the Government to reinstate the money that will be cut from aid programs.
“Australia is now spending three times as much overseas aid money in Australia than it is in East Timor, one of the world’s poorest nations and one of our nearest neighbours,” she said.
For interviews or more information contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Chee Chee Leung on 0400 732 795 or firstname.lastname@example.org