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Australian aid continues to decline as defence budget skyrockets

While the Australian defence budget continues to grow, the aid budget suffers sixth consecutive cut
03 April 2019

Save the Children Australia has drawn a stark comparison between defence spending and aid cuts in the 2019-20 Budget.

A massive $38.7 billion will be spent in the defence portfolio in 2019-20 with a total of $175.8 billion allocated to defence through to 2022-23. In comparison, the aid budget will comprise approximately $12 billion over the same period.
By 2020-21 the defence budget will represent 2% of the nation’s income (Gross Domestic Product). 
In complete contrast, the Australian aid budget will decline from almost $4.2 billion in 2018-19 to about $4 billion a year from 2019-20. 
That’s a cut in real terms to the Australian aid budget which will not even be subject to indexation until 2022-23.
Development Policy Centre Director Professor Stephen Howes has calculated that currently, for every dollar spent on aid nine dollars is spent on defence, a gap which will continue to widen alarmingly.

It is the sixth consecutive cut to the Australian aid budget which has plummeted by almost 30% since 2013-14 ($5.1 billion). 
In 2021-22 the Australian aid budget will represent just 0.19 per cent of the national income (Gross National Income). 
In fact, by 2022-23 the Australian aid budget will be equivalent to just 7% of the Australian defence budget.

“In a year when we know 30 million more children are living in the midst of conflicts around the world, Australia’s budget priorities are cause for deep reflection,” said Save the Children Australia Director Policy and International Programs Mat Tinkler. 

“Save the Children is determined to stop the war on children, but until that happens we need funding to deliver life-saving aid to those children suffering.”

Throughout 2019, our Centenary year, Save the Children is calling on the Australian Government to do more to Stop the War on Children, including to end Australian defence exports to combatants in the war in Yemen.

For media inquiries contact Licardo Prince on 0401 777 917.

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