Media Release: Tuesday, 18 April, 2006

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) supports World Vision’s plans to improve overseas aid by increasing overall spending and ensuring that a greater proportion directly benefits desperately poor and sick people in impoverished nations.

“The causes of global poverty are complex,” said ACL’s Managing Director, Jim Wallace. “Failing states cannot deliver anything but misery to their citizens and Australia rightly contributes money to encourage good governance. However, this must not come at the expense of money for health, education and poverty relief for those on the ground.”

World Vision’s recent report, Does Aid Work? highlights the remarkable success of aid programs but notes how easily they can be subverted by global political issues such as the war on terror.

Over the past five years Australia’s spending on overseas aid in the health sector has risen by 4% and spending in education has increased by 18%. Meanwhile, funding for law and justice programs increased by 930% whilst governance initiatives increased by nearly 60%.

“There is an obvious imbalance here which needs to be corrected,” said Mr Wallace. “ACL stands alongside World Vision in calling for a substantial increase in the percentage of gross national income dedicated to overseas aid. We also ask the government to review its programs to ensure that more of the money directly benefits those trapped in the most appalling poverty who are in desperate need of help.”

Contact: Beth Micklethwaite