Labor is deeply concerned by new research confirming Australia is falling further in world rankings for overseas development assistance.
At a time when Africa is again facing a devastating famine, and the Syrian conflict has created an international refugee crisis, the OECD’s reporting is deeply disappointing, showing Australian development assistance fell by 12.7% in real terms in 2016.
Analysis by the ANU’s Development Policy Centre shows Australia has dropped one place in the OECD rankings on development assistance volume, and dropped three places, to 17th on development assistance effort.
The OECD data shows development assistance fell in seven countries, with Australia recording one of the largest decreases in the developed world.
The Turnbull Government’s cuts to development assistance are a source of international embarrassment for Australia, and at odds with the generous spirit of the Australian people.
The 2016-17 Budget delivered the weakest levels of Australian development assistance in history, spending just 23 cents in every $100 of our national income on foreign aid.
Over the next decade this will get even worse, with the Turnbull Government’s budget figures forecasting our international development program will fall to just 0.17 per cent of GNI.
The Abbott/Turnbull Government has abandoned Australia’s bipartisan commitment to GNI growth, overseeing a 24.2% cut to the development budget since 2013.
Theresa May’s recent commitment to enshrine Britain’s aid commitment in legislation shows international development can be bipartisan and doesn’t have to be a progressive/conservative issue.
Britain’s commitment was made possible by genuine and sustained support from administrations on both sides of politics in the UK, just as it could be here.