Budget a missed opportunity to tackle deepening inequality

Campaigns and Advocacy, Foreign aid, Media Releases article written on the 09 May 2023

In response to the 2023 federal budget, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain said: 

“After promising signs in the government’s October budget of increased investment in international development, this budget presented an opportunity to take further steps to make a real difference to the lives of millions of people who have been affected by climate change, conflict and growing inequality.

“We welcome the efforts by the government to stabilise the aid budget after a decade of decline and to grow it incrementally over the forward estimates. We also welcome government funding to establish the Anti-Slavery Commissioner to ensure compliance with the Modern Slavery Act.

“However, despite polling showing growing public support for aid, the government is a long way from achieving the recommended international target of 0.7% GNI – that figure has stagnated this year at just 0.2% in real terms.

“A greater sense of urgency is required on key challenges such as famine prevention and climate change. There is a deepening hunger crisis in many parts of the world and Oxfam, along with other aid agencies, has been calling for an increase to the Humanitarian Emergency Fund to help avert a catastrophe and save lives. It’s disappointing to see the government fail to step up and pay our fair share.

“If we can afford to subsidise the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $46 billion over four years and $240 billion over 10 years for the unfair stage three tax cuts, we can afford to contribute more to the international effort to prevent millions of people from experiencing famine and to lift people out of poverty.

“Australia now ranks 27th out of 30 OECD aid donors and is the least generous of our AUKUS partners. Meanwhile, global needs continue to grow with 65 million more people experiencing extreme hunger than last year and the number of people forced from their homes by conflict, the climate crisis and persecution skyrocketing.

“Next year’s budget will be make or break on the stage three tax cuts, and we need urgent tax reform to fund the growing needs we face for investment in international development and responding to climate change in our region, as well as to tackle growing inequality at home.”

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