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Tuesday, 10 April 2018 10:58

Calls for overseas aid to be boosted, not cut

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0418OverseasAid 450The Edmund Rice Centre has called on the federal government to boost its overseas aid budget rather than proceed with a reported $400 million cut.

The Centre, which carries forward the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers, says any decision by the Turnbull Government to cut Australia’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) would come at the worst possible time, as last year, the United Nations warned the world was facing the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945.

The Government has already cut the overseas aid budget by over 30 per cent since coming to office in 2013. 

While recent news reports suggest the Pacific will be exempt from cuts, the Centre is calling on the Government to increase ODA for the region, especially in light of the increasing challenges caused by climate change.

“It’s not good enough for the Government to say it is exempting the Pacific from overseas aid cuts – we need to be increasing our support for the region at this time,” the Centre’s Coordinator of Development and Communications, Dominic Ofner said in a statement. 

“The Pacific is at the frontline of climate change, and the Government can do more to support the region build resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

“Climate change is fast exacerbating the significant development challenges faced by our neighbours in the Pacific, especially in low-lying Pacific atoll countries like Kiribati and Tuvalu. Exempting the Pacific from cuts is one thing, we need to see a significant increase. 

“While the Government is providing $300 million between 2016 and 2020 for climate change and resilience in the Pacific region, this pales into insignificance when compared to the approximately $5 billion it provides each year to support fossil fuel industries.

“As caring people, Australians expect our Government to help build a better and fairer future for people around the world.

"The Government is out of step with the vast majority of Australians who are big-hearted and far-sighted.”

PHOTO: DFAT/Flickr, Australian aid supplies being unloaded in the Pacific Island of Vanuatu.