The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed concern with reports the federal government plans to redirect foreign aid money from the poor to bolster anti-terrorism efforts in tomorrow’s Federal Budget.
ACL managing director Lyle Shelton said:
“We hope these reports are not true as redirecting aid money to fight terrorism would constitute a breach of Australia’s commitment to meet the Millennium Development Goals to tackle global poverty.
“It would be disappointing if the Australian Government is contemplating shrinking our foreign aid commitment even further, given we already are giving below what we had committed to the international community.”
As signatories to the MDG, Australia promised to peg foreign aid at 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income, but has failed to honour this commitment in recent years under governments of both political persuasions.
"Counter-terrorism measures are obviously vital but they should not be funded by taking money away from programs to help people in extreme poverty,” Mr Shelton said.
"The aid budget should not become a soft touch to fund other programs.
“The ACL encourages the government to get its MDG promises back on track.
"The UK, which had a bigger budget emergency than Australia, managed to meet its MDG commitment. Australia, as a rich nation should also meet its commitment."