19th June, 2012
Leaders of Australian churches and NGOs have called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to lift Australia's foreign aid contribution to 0.5 per cent of gross national income as soon as possible.
The Federal Government announced in the Budget last month that that they would not be lifting the aid commitment to 0.5 per cent of GNI - which equates to 50 cents in every $100 - by 2015 but would do so in 2016-17, a year later than promised. Australia currently gives 0.35 per cent of its gross national income towards foreign aid.
In an open letter to Ms Gillard, the group - which includes Rev Dr Philip Aspinall, primate of the Anglican Church, Rev Denis Hart, Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, John Beckett, national director of Micah Challenge, and Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision - expressed their "deep disappointment" that the Government had broken its commitment and called on it to pursue its revised timetable with "all vigour".
"The Government has broken its commitment once. We do not regard it as acceptable to delay again, or to defer the bulk of the spending into the later years of this period. We have chosen once to balance Australia's budget on the backs of the poorest people in the world, we must not do so again."
In the letter to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, the group called on him to reaffirm his commitment to increase aid to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2015 or to set the "earliest possible timetable to achieve this".
To see the letters in full, head to www.micahchallenge.org.au/budget-response
- DAVID ADAMS
FOREIGN AID: CHRISTIAN AND HUMANITARIAN ORGANISATIONS "DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED" AT GOVERNMENT'S FAILURE TO HONOR PROMISE... |
THE INTERVIEW: MARTIN THOMAS, WORLD VISION... |
ESSAY: AID PROMISE SACRIFICED TO BUDGET SURPLUS... |