Any review of Australia’s international development program will be meaningless without the Morrison Government halting its massive cuts to foreign aid.
Since coming to office the Coalition has cut more than $11.8 billion from Australia’s official development assistance.
As a result Australia’s foreign aid as a share of national income is at the lowest on record at 0.21 per cent of gross national income, down from 0.33 per cent in 2013-14.
Australia has fallen from being the 13th most generous OECD country in 2012 to the 18th.
That is not only hurting some of the poorest people in the world, it is contrary to Australia’s interests in a prosperous, stable and secure region.
Overseas aid is not only the right thing to do; it is in Australia’s interests.
It improves Australia’s foreign relationships, economic prosperity and national security by fostering a more prosperous, stable and secure international environment.
It is positive for our own economy, boosting jobs and living standards at home by encouraging growth abroad, which creates new export markets for Australian products.
Overseas aid also reduces the risks of cross-border problems like health epidemics, political instability or transnational crime affecting Australia.
Any genuine review of Australia’s foreign aid program must include a commitment to stopping the funding cuts.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.