Australian church leaders have joined together to call on both the Government and the Opposition to keep their commitments to increase aid towards the internationally agreed target of 0.7pc of Gross National Income.

In letters to the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott this week signed by Church leaders and NGO heads, Micah Challenge acknowledged the increase for aid of $315 million committed by the Government in the May budget.

However, the anti-poverty campaign expressed deep disappointment at the broken promise to increase aid to 0.5pc of GNI by 2015.

“We are disappointed because this was a promise to the Australian people, and more importantly, a promise to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable,” said Micah Challenge Australia’s National Coordinator John Beckett.

Though these decisions have been made in a tight fiscal environment, the letters appeal to the serious situation still present, that of 20,000 children dying in the world each day from preventable causes, and brings home the reality that Australian aid saves lives.

The letters also note the importance of strategic and accountable spending, and that it is in Australia’s best interests to contribute to the “prosperity, opportunity, stability and security” in our region.

“Australian aid helps to educate children and helps communities recover from disasters”.

The ACL believes Christians need to take active interest in this matter. Not only will increasing aid mean the Government is fulfilling its mandate to "defend the rights of the poor and needy", aid spent wisely subscribes to a greater vision for the long term peace, health and wellbeing of the region in which we live.

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