Tuesday 1st April 2014

The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed disappointment at a senate inquiry report recommendation to extend the time by which Australia increase its foreign aid.

Last week, a senate inquiry into Australia’s overseas aid and development assistance program released its report, with one of its 24 recommendations suggesting Australia’s target of 0.5 per cent of gross national income (GNI) be met by 2024-25.

ACL’s Managing Director Lyle Shelton said both Labor and the Coalition had pledged to meet this target by 2015.

“Australia is a prosperous country and has a moral responsibility to provide greater aid to the world’s poorest,” he said.

“This new time frame is a major step back in our country’s role in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. More importantly, it’s a huge failure to the millions of people whose lives are at risk each day because of poverty,” he said.

Mr Shelton said overseas aid is an expression not only of mercy and national generosity but of justice.

“In a region where there are enormous vulnerabilities for natural disasters and public health issues, Australia’s contribution to increasing aid is a means of acting justly to ensure the long term peace, health and wellbeing of the region in which it resides,” he said.

However, Mr Shelton welcomed the recommendations for the government to release an overarching policy framework for Australia’s aid program and to refrain from mid-year changes to the aid budget.

“We urge the government to build upon the strategic and policy framework for assessing Australia’s aid program which was developed in recent years,” he said.

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