Oxfam welcomes government assurances on aid budget

Foreign aid, General, Media Releases, News article written on the 02 Oct 2014

Oxfam Australia has today welcomed the confirmation by the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister that the overseas aid budget will not be ransacked again.

Oxfam’s Director of Public Engagement Pam Anders said aid was an important instrument for maintaining peace and stability.

 “The Australian aid program not only saves lives every day, it is also part of Australia’s contribution to making the world a safer, more peaceful place,” Ms Anders said.

“Diverting much-needed aid funds in an effort to make Australia safer is akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face: it would directly undermine Australia’s investment in global peace and security.”

As noted in the recent Commission of Audit Report: “Australia’s overseas aid programme serves Australia’s national interests, including by contributing to global efforts to reduce poverty and promoting stability and prosperity in our region.” The Commission also recommended aid increase by CPI each year.

If the proposal reported this morning was implemented, aid would reach lows not seen since 2004 as a proportion of Australia’s national income. In other words, we would not be pulling our weight and would fall even lower on the global leader-board for aid donor countries.

“If the aid budget was held at current levels until 2017-2018 this would see aid spending reduced to around 0.27 per cent of Australia’s gross national income, or 27 cents in every $100. The last time the aid budget dropped below 0.28 per cent of GNI was ten years ago in 2004-05.”

Both the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister have dismissed reports that the government was poised to make further cuts to the foreign aid budget to fund military operations in Iraq and national security.

Oxfam works in partnership with the Australian government to deliver essential aid throughout our region and beyond. We are encouraged by the affirmations made by the Government this morning and look forward to ensuring our aid continues to promote peace, stability and prosperity worldwide.

For interviews or more information, please contact Angus Hohenboken, Media Coordinator Emergencies and International Programs, on 0428 367 318 or angush@oxfam.org.au