Monday, 7th May, 2012

The ACL is urging the government to honour its election promise and not cut its foreign aid in tomorrow’s budget.

Managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby Jim Wallace said the government had committed to boost foreign aid to 0.5 per cent of gross national income (GNI) by 2015-2016.

“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.

Mr Wallace 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.

“At the time it was estimated that developed countries needed to achieve aid budgets of 0.7 per cent by 2015 in order to meet the global MDG financing gap,” he said.

“We are well below that goal and yet our leaders are struggling even to follow through on the 0.5 per cent GNI commitment,” he said.

Both Labor and the Coalition went to the last election promising to raise aid to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2015.

Mr Wallace said ACL went to great expense to communicate parties’ election promises to the Christian constituency, including a website and mail-out of non-partisan voter information to 5000 churches nation-wide, which included the promise not to cut aid.

“There is an expectation in the constituency that Labor will honour its election promise and its promise to the poorest of the world’s poor,” Mr Wallace said.

See the ALP’s commitment to increase aid to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income by 2015-16 in a question on the Australia Votes website - Compare Policies Section