For release: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Australian Christian Lobby says it’s disappointed the federal government has cut foreign aid again, the second time this year.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr has admitted the government plans to remove at least $375 million from Australia’s poverty-focused aid program to house and feed asylum-seekers in Australia.

ACL’s Chief of Staff Nick Overton said Australia’s commitment to overseas development programs should not be jeopardised by the government’s need to support refugees and asylum seekers within the country.

“The government certainly has an obligation to fulfil its commitment to asylum- seekers and refugees in Australia but to do this at the expense of poverty-stricken communities overseas is unfair,” he said.

He said it’s the second time this year the government has not followed through on its commitment to foreign aid.

“In May the government announced it would delay increasing aid spending to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2015,” he said.

“Australia’s current commitment stands at 0.35 per cent of GNI – well short of what is needed to eradicate poverty and help developing nations implement poverty-reducing policies,” he said.

Australia was one of the 189 member states of the United Nations that had signed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 to halve world poverty by 2015.