Today’s launch by Julie Bishop of an innovation focus for the Australian Aid program has been undermined by leaks suggesting more cuts to the aid budget.
Oxfam Public Engagement Director Pam Anders said innovation was indeed vital to overcome the challenges that stood in the way of a fairer, more prosperous and more secure region but she said innovation was not possible without funding.
“The government has already cut Australian aid to the bone. If there is no funding left, then the exciting new models being proposed today by the Minister will go nowhere,” Ms Anders said.
The Abbott Government has already cut aid by $11.3 billion since coming to office, the largest single cut to the aid program in Australia’s history. In December last year it announced cuts of $3.7 billion, on top of the $7.6 billion cuts it had already made.
“Reports today that the government is contemplating more aid cuts, on top of the $11.3 billion already gouged out of the budget, are very worrying,” Ms Anders said.
“If the Abbott Government cuts aid again it would be both un-strategic and irresponsible.
“More cuts will mean less innovation, less ability to respond to disasters like Cyclone Pam, less impact on stability in our region and most importantly, less people lifted out of poverty by Australian aid.”
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