Responding to commitments in the ALP National Platform that Labor will boost Australia’s overseas aid program by a percentage of gross national income (GNI) every year it is in government if successful at the next election, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said:
“Today’s commitment made at the Labor Party National Conference is the welcome, sensible approach to rebuilding Australian aid that Oxfam has been calling for, and one that is necessary to help tackle poverty around the world,” Dr Szoke said.
“If elected, Labor has committed to increasing Australian aid as a proportion of GNI every year it is in government, starting with its first budget.
“This would put vital, life-saving Australian aid back on track towards the global promise of achieving 0.7 per cent of GNI towards aid, reiterated by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“This commitment would mean an aid program more capable of tackling the pressing global challenges that require urgent action, including climate change, reducing poverty and addressing runaway economic inequality.
“It is the type of compassionate leadership that Australians absolutely expect from their leaders.
“This comes at a time when the future of the aid budget remains unclear. Last night the government confirmed in a speech it was making major savings from the aid budget up to 2028-29, we need to clarify if these are new budget savings or an indication of a change to the government’s position.
“Successive cuts to the aid program have already seen aid spending fall to just 22 cents in every $100 of gross national income over recent years – this is the lowest level in Australian history. We can and should do more.
“Oxfam calls on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to show bipartisan leadership in this vital area, and match or better Labor’s commitment.”
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