Monday, 13th May, 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby has said the government’s decision to delay promised election funding to the world’s poor in tomorrow’s budget will disappoint the Christian constituency.
ACL’s Managing Director Lyle Shelton said comments by Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr that lifting aid to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) would again be pushed back to 2016-2017 is a breach of an election promise.
“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 Shelton said.
“This is the third time in the last year that the federal government has delayed or cut aid to the world’s poor after promising at the 2010 election it would raise foreign aid to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2015-2016,” he said.
“At last year’s budget it announced it would delay funding and then last December the government announced it would be diverting $375 million away from aid in order to cover the domestic costs of asylum seekers.
“The 0.5 per cent of GNI figure that we were aiming for is well below the actual 0.7 per cent figure that was estimated in 2000 that Australia would have to invest to reach the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.
Mr Shelton called on the Coalition to block the cut in aid but was concerned it would wave it through as it did last year.
While ACL believes governments should balance its budgets, it should also honour its promises.
“Despite our budget deficit, Australia is a wealthy country and it should be able to deliver a balanced budget whilst being generous to the world’s poor,” Mr Shelton said.
• In 2000, Australia was one of 189 member nations of the United Nations that singed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 to half world poverty by 2015
• It was estimated developed countries needed to achieve aid budgets of 0.7 per cent by 2015 in order to meet the global MDG financial gap
• At 2010 election both major parties committed to lift aid to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2015-2016 http://www.australiavotes.org.au/policies/index.php?topic_ids=46#question1