Budget lacks ambition at time of massive need

Campaigns and Advocacy, Foreign aid, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 30 Mar 2022

Commenting on the budget and its impact on aid, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain said:

“At a time of rapidly escalating need and growing inequality across the globe, this federal budget fails to demonstrate the leadership that is required from a nation like Australia.

“While Oxfam welcomes the marginal increase in aid funding through indexation, a lift in the humanitarian intake for people from Afghanistan and an enhanced focus on gender equality, these measures don’t come close to meeting current global challenges.

“Our world is in crisis and Australia’s strategic interests are under threat, as our region continues to respond to COVID-19 and climate change.

“This current turmoil is yet another reminder that contemporary multicultural Australia is deeply connected to communities in crisis worldwide. While Australia’s economy has started to bounce back, we must not close our eyes to the devastating impacts of the pandemic, conflict and climate-induced disasters on the world’s poorest communities. We expect governments of wealthy nations like ours to do more when there is such a critical need.

“Our region is already being hit hard by the impacts of climate change. Women, girls and other marginalised people will be most affected. Yet the federal government has consistently ignored calls from Pacific leaders to take stronger action by rapidly reducing emissions and paying our fair share to help them adapt to the changing climate.

“Pacific leaders are signaling that current development support from wealthy countries in the region is not meeting their needs and are turning to others for partnerships.

“As the war in Ukraine pushes up food and commodity prices, the conflict in Yemen extends into its ninth year with millions of people going hungry, and the situation in much of East Africa is becoming increasingly desperate.

“Our government must accept its place in our global economy, with all the responsibilities that entails, and contribute its fair share to humanitarian efforts. This budget continues a pattern of humanitarian assistance being woefully below our fair share.

“While Australian aid and development spending remains relatively stagnant in the coming years, defence, security and intelligence spending has increased.

“This formula will not deliver peace, stability and prosperity for the region. We need quality, long-term development programs that forge closer links and improve the lives of people experiencing poverty and injustice.”

For interviews, contact Lily Partland on 0418 118 687 / lilyp@oxfam.org.au