make poverty history

Australian Government Balancing the Budget on the Back of the World’s Poor

Once again the Australian Federal Government has revealed its plans to balance the budget partly on the backs of the world’s poorest people.

Make Poverty History is extremely disappointed that the Government is once again diverting aid away from life-saving projects overseas and instead spending it on costs associated with processing asylum seekers.

This is the second time the Government has done a smash and grab on the aid budget for domestic costs, diverting $375 million of the aid budget just before Christmas 2012 and another $375 million with this budget. This money could have immunised 250 million children or trained 150,000 midwives to help mothers survive childbirth. These aid diversions affect lives.

Make Poverty History welcomes the decision by the Government to increase aid by about $500 million  on last year’s budget, however due to the diversion of funds this will be a modest increase of $125 million for overseas poverty alleviation.

“While last year the United Nations appointed Prime Minister Julia Gillard to be a champion for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), this decision to divert the aid budget back onshore embarrassingly makes Australia the third largest recipient of its own overseas aid and undermines the PM’s position” said Viv Benajmin, co-chair of Make Poverty History and CEO of The Oaktree Foundation.

Co-chair of Make Poverty History and Plan Australia CEO, Ian Wishart said “Australians are justifiably proud of our contribution towards halving the number of people living in extreme poverty overseas but will be dissatisfied that the Government has delayed again by another year its commitment to lift the aid budget to 0.5 percent of national income.

“Australians expect their foreign aid dollars to be spent overseas ending the cycle of extreme poverty through programs like education, health and immunisation”, Mr Wishart said.

Australians wanting to do more need to contact their local MP’s and let them know they won’t stand by and let Australia’s commitment to the very poor be raided.

Ian Wishart said “Australians can show their support for aid by signing the Movement to End Poverty petition.”

Contact –

Ian Wishart at Plan Australia – Mary-Anne Thomas 0407 789 415

Viv Benjamin at The Oaktree Foundation 0416 051 357

 

 

The Movement to End Poverty petition is a joint action of the Make Poverty History and Micah Challenge Coalitions, for all Australians who believe we can end extreme poverty. For more information, go to www.makepovertyhistory.com.au

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