The Commission of Audit report, released today by the Government, supports Oxfam Australia’s view that a strong, growing and well managed aid program focused on reducing poverty is in Australia’s national interests.
The report makes welcome comments about the importance of transparency in the international development program, including through the independence of the group that monitors aid, the Office for Development Effectiveness.
But the report also recommends Australia abandon the decade’s long, global practice of measuring international aid as a percentage of Gross National Income.
Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Helen Szoke said the global target was there for a reason: to ensure there is shared responsibility and accountability to meet pressing global needs.
“Even as the Commission released its report today, one in eight people face hunger as a daily reality. Global calls for assistance, such as the UN Appeal for the people of Syria, are underfunded on a massive scale,” said Dr Szoke.
“Other nations, including the UK, have not only set a target of reaching 0.7% of GNI towards aid, they have already met it.
“Just this week the Foreign Minister outlined a closer cooperation between Australia and the UK to tackle poverty. Yet Australia’s financial contribution is stuck at half that of the UK, and there is no timeline to meet the Government’s commitment for reaching 0.5% GNI towards aid.
“Oxfam is urging the Government to maintain this commitment and to set out a timeline to meet that target.”
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