Todayâ€™s revelation of where cuts to Australiaâ€™s aid program will fall has beenÂ met with disappointment by the Australian Council for InternationalÂ Development (ACFID), the peak body for Australian aid and humanitarian
ACFID Vice President and CARE Australia CEO, Dr Julia Newton-Howes,Â commented â€śTodayâ€™s announcement of $625 million in cuts is not merelyÂ number crunching in an attempt to find a budget surplus. It is the worldâ€™sÂ poorest people â€“ in many of Australiaâ€™s neighbouring countries â€“ who will feelÂ the brunt of these decisions.â€ť
â€śPrior to the election, this government committed to reprioritising aid fundingÂ to Australia NGOs, in recognition of their experience and track record ofÂ effectively working to assist many of the worldâ€™s poorest communities tackleÂ extreme poverty head on. Yet, in todayâ€™s announcement, many of theseÂ agencies have been subject to cuts.â€ť
â€śEach year, around two million Australians willingly donate to Australian aidÂ agencies because they believe in the important work we do. Todayâ€™s fundingÂ cut will mean that opportunities to connect marginalised and vulnerableÂ people with critical services and opportunities to break the cycle of poverty,Â have also been decreased,â€ť Dr Newton-Howes said.
“It is important to remember that aid is an investment in Australia’s future. Â The health of our region’s economic health and aid investments stand us in good stead for seeing growing and shared prosperity,” says Dr Newton-Howes.
â€śDespite the bad news, the Australian aid sector welcomes the Governmentâ€™sÂ commitment to ensuring our aid is working for poverty reduction andÂ sustainable development,â€ť said Dr Newton-Howes.
â€śWe further welcome theÂ Governmentâ€™s recognition of the importance of aid predictability and theirÂ commitment to increase aid annually by CPI over forward estimates. We willÂ be looking to the May budget to see this commitment honoured and theÂ funding taken from Australian NGOs in todayâ€™s announcement restored in lineÂ with the pre-election promise.â€ť
â€śWe are pleased with commitments to consult with the Australia aid sector asÂ it develops its benchmarks for an Australian aid program and ACFID, with 50Â years of experience and a rigorous Code of Conduct for its member
organisations is well placed to work with the Government on those aims.â€ť
â€śACFID remains deeply committed to ensuring Australiaâ€™s aid benefits theÂ worldâ€™s poorest people, and we are ready to work in partnership with theÂ government to ensure it meets those goals and delivers a world-class,Â effective aid program,â€ť concluded Dr Newton Howes.