Commenting on Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement of a more than $500 million package for South-East Asia, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain said:
“Oxfam warmly welcomes the Australian Government’s significant new investment of more than $500 million to support the development of our neighbours in South-East Asia.
“The recognition of the importance of the region and the requirement to improve support alongside that offered to the Pacific is most welcome.
“This support is especially important now, when the region continues to be heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, which has not only threatened lives, but also livelihoods, as it wreaks havoc on economies and threatens hard-won development gains.
“The Prime Minister’s focus on health systems and economic resilience is critical at this time, as our neighbours face deepening poverty and inequality.
“Oxfam has estimated an additional half a billion people could be pushed into poverty by the impacts of this pandemic, including almost 240 million people in East Asia and the Pacific, and close to 130 million in South Asia.
“Oxfam is heartened that the Australian Government is also committed to supporting improved governance arrangements for communities of the Mekong River – people whose livelihoods and local environment are being devastated by upstream dams. We know from working in this space how important it is to support the people living along the river to speak up and protect their way of life.
“We look forward to detailed plans on how this additional funding will be allocated.”
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