Australia among least generous for aid: Oxfam

Foreign aid, Media Releases article written on the 11 Apr 2024

In a time of unprecedented global crises and rising inequality, Australia’s international aid contributions remain at historic lows, according to figures released today by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).   

The figures show that Australia’s ranking remains low, at 26 out of 31 for official development assistance (ODA) provided by Development Assistance Committee (DAC) member countries in 2023. Australia provides just 19 cents in every $100 in gross national income (0.19% GNI) to international aid, an amount that is far lower than other high–income countries such as the UK (0.58%), Canada (0.38%) and Scandinavian country contributions, which are in excess of the 0.7% GNI target. 

This follows a decade of decline in the international aid budget, which stood at 0.33% GNI in 2011-12.  

In response to the figures, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain said: 

“Keeping already insufficient aid at historically low levels costs lives and is a moral and strategic failure. Once again, rich countries have betrayed their promise to the world’s poorest people—a promise to end hunger, invest in life-saving public health systems, and expand education opportunities to ensure a safer world for all. 

“Despite modest funding increases in 2023, Australia’s aid contribution failed to keep pace with the growth in our economy, remaining at 19 cents in every $100 in income. This is well below the 70 cents international target agreed by wealthy countries, including Australia, and the Labor Party Platform goal of 50 cents per $100 of income.   

“There is no credible defence here. With a modest wealth tax on the ultra-rich, the Australian government could raise over $32 billion dollars a year―enough to meet its fair share of aid and invest in poverty alleviation at home. The money needed for housing, schools, hospitals and proper income support does exist; it’s just padding the pockets of the ultra-rich.  

“We live in a world where, in a single month, the world’s richest men add tens of billions of dollars to their fortunes while more than 1 million people are facing catastrophic levels of hunger and starvation in Gaza. What greater evidence of injustice and inequality do we need before rich governments take action and keep their aid promises?” 

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