Australian aid an investment in security and prosperity: Oxfam

Campaigns and Advocacy, Foreign aid, Media Releases, News article written on the 18 Jan 2014

Details released today of government cuts to Australian aid meant that Australia would be investing less in security, prosperity and in improving the lives of those living in extreme poverty, Oxfam Australia said today.

Oxfam Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said today that the cuts would affect people living in extreme poverty in a number of regions around the world.

“Targeted and effective aid not only saves, and drastically improves people’s lives, it also helps to create the necessary pre-conditions for sustainable and shared economic growth,” Dr Szoke said.

“The Australian aid program is one that Australians can be proud of and one that invests in the security and prosperity of our region.”

The Abbott Government today has announced the details of a 2013-14 budget cut of $650 million to aid.

“Just as Foreign Affairs staff had to do yesterday, we will now go to some of those people we have been supporting and tell them that we can no longer support them, which will be acutely disheartening for them,” Dr Szoke said.

For Oxfam, Dr Szoke said this meant looking at critical work to better prepare communities for disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes in Indonesia, Timor Leste and Bangladesh, and ongoing work to reduce violence against women in Indonesia and PNG.

Dr Szoke said she was also disappointed to see humanitarian and emergencies funding cut by $75.4 million, given the world was facing its worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century with the Syria conflict.

She said Oxfam was also concerned about the Government’s reference to next year’s aid program as a ‘blank canvas’, given the highly effective projects already making a difference in the lives of poor people that must continue.

“Getting the most impact out of our aid dollars is paramount at Oxfam,” she said.

“Oxfam has learned a great deal about what works in delivering aid, as an organisation that has been working for more than 60 years with poor communities around the world.

“As a long-term partner, Oxfam is pleased to see the Government’s commitment to consult as it continues to build the aid program, and stands ready to work with the Government in the coming weeks and months as it finalises next year’s aid budget.”

Enquiries to Laurelle Keough on 0425 701 801