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Foreign Aid

May 14, 2013

The Gillard Government will increase Australia’s Official Development Assistance to a record $5.7 billion in 2013-14.

This is an increase of approximately $500 million or 9.6 per cent on 2012-13 and brings the aid budget to 0.37 per cent of gross national income (GNI).

It will be the highest aid budget in Australian history.

It occurs at a time when aid among OECD countries has fallen by 4 per cent in real terms (over 2012).

Australia remains committed to increasing its aid budget to 0.5 per cent of GNI.

Given substantial write-downs to Budget revenues the Government will however defer this target by one year, to 2017-18.

We have seen great progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in our region, and Australia remains committed to supporting these goals.

That’s why, over the next four years, we will:

• Target malnutrition among women and children in the Asia-Pacific, providing over one million people with better access to food and improved nutrition;
• Lift universal education by supporting an additional 1.2 million children reach school; and
• Increase access to maternal and child health services for a further 900,000 women.

Compare this to the Liberals – their overseas aid budget never reached 0.3 per cent of Gross National Income, and was usually under 0.25 per cent.

Overseas aid has risen in every year of this Government – in total more than $2 billion since 2007/08 – an increase of over 60 per cent.

3 Comments
  1. May 14, 2013 10:42 am

    “It will be the highest aid budget in Australian history.”

    Er – no: that was in 1975 when aid was 0.65% of Australia’s gross national income (GNI):
    http://webnet.oecd.org/dcdgraphs/ODAGNI/

    Australia is NOT a generous donor – 13th out of 24 in the latest statistics:
    http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/aidtopoorcountriesslipsfurtherasgovernmentstightenbudgets.htm

    The Government’s 2013-2014 budget breaches its own Comprehensive Aid Policy Framework, released only 1 year ago, which made no provision for aid to be spend on onshore asylum seeker costs:
    http://www.ausaid.gov.au/about/Documents/capf.pdf

    A one-step forwards, two steps back aid budget that will hit the world’s poor where it hurts.

  2. Sarah permalink
    May 14, 2013 5:53 pm

    While I acknowledge increases are positive, this latest move is far from as laudable as you paint it here. Firstly, the fact that this is our highest aid budget in history shouldn’t be a point of pride but a point of shame. Saying we are contributing more than our shamefully low base is playing with words – we are still far from our internationally recognised fair share, as was signed onto by Australia 13 years ago, which is 0.7 per cent GNI – not even the lack lustre 0.5 per cent we won’t get to…again.

    I acknowledge that it is irresponsible to increase a budget so substantially without proper capacity to spend it appropriately, however, that’s where transparent, remarkably effective, proven multi-lateral organisations can play an important role. For example, we need to contribute more to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria which is able to leverage whatever we contribute to benefit the Asia-Pacific region specifically with this region benefitting disproportionately from Global Fund funds over the next few years. I fear that it’ll take the spread of multi-drug resistant TB and malaria to Australia, which will waste millions, to properly address it in our closest neighbouring countries/popular Australian holiday destinations. By then it may well be too late to use current technology and we will be cursing our missed opportunity to get control of these diseases. Diseases will not be contained in a globalised society, we need to look beyond our borders to protect our own citizens (if the human decency argument doesn’t work). Not to mention the link between extremism, political unrest and poverty – compelling stuff. Essentially it is in our interest to act in this space as much or more as with armed forces, prevention rather than a Band-Aid.
    Further, our closest neighbours are some of the furthest from reaching the MDG targets. ‘Progress’ towards the MDG targets isn’t good enough. All could have been achieved had the proper resources been contributed, as was acknowledged at the outset of the MDGs. Any not achieved is causing unnecessary death and suffering in our fellow human beings and that is on us – we could have prevented it and we could be preventing more with this budget.

    The UK’s economy is in a far worse position than Australia’s economy. Yet the UK has announced the intention to reach 0.7 per cent of GNI this year and also legally insulated their aid budget last year. Looking at aggregate figures from other OECD countries, which were already giving far more than Australia is a dishonest distortion of reality. Selectively reporting favourable statistics hides the ‘real picture’. Don’t forget that on latest figures we are still 13th out of 23 OECD countries in percentage of GNI we contribute – and while having arguably the strongest economy.

    I vote entirely based on which government I feel will produce the most favourable ODA policies as I know I will have a relatively luxurious life regardless of who is in government here. This selfish and short sighted policy, and missed opportunity, might well come back to bite us when we have to re-open tuberculosis hospitals across Australia.

  3. mmm permalink
    May 14, 2013 6:53 pm

    How can you allow for uranium being exported to UAE?

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