Monday, August 2, 2010

Aid commitment remains despite $300m cut

The Coalition has affirmed its commitment to increasing overseas aid and development to 0.5 per cent of national income by 2015 despite axing $300 million worth of foreign aid programs designed to mitigate the affects of climate change.

While the cut has been criticised by aid organisations such as Oxfam and Caritas, Opposition's Foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop claims Labor padded the aid budget with the climate funding to garner support for a UN security council seat.

'The Coalition remains committed to increasing the foreign aid budget up to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2015. We will be changing the focus, and we will be ensuring that aid is delivered in the main in our region where it can have the most effect,' Ms Bishop said today.
But the head of Catholic aid organisation, Caritas is not convinced. 'Countries, like Australia, who have amassed their wealth from the production of greenhouse gasses, cannot simply walk away from their responsibility to assist, as the coalition appears to be doing,' said Caritas CEO Jack De Groot.
Australia's aid and development sector for has been calling on politicians to meet the UN's Millennium Goals which include a recommendation for foreign development assistance to rise to 0.7 per cent of GNI by 2015, but both the government and the opposition remain committed to 0.5 per cent.
Read Caritas's full media release.
Read Fiona Bishop's response. 

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