December 17, 2018: With today’s Mid-Year Economic Fiscal Outlook showing a return to surplus by this time next year, Save the Children is calling on the Morrison Government to stop being stingy and increase overseas aid from current record-low levels.
“The return to surplus outlined in MYEFO means there is no longer any excuse for Australia’s paltry overseas aid spending,” Save the Children’s Director of Policy and International Programs, Mat Tinkler, said.
“Australia has a long and proud history of supporting those in need around the world. However, in recent years we’ve seen the aid budget slashed to its lowest level ever.
“In the current geopolitical climate, Australia cannot afford to be the stingy neighbour. We must increase our aid investment, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, because it is in our national interest.”
Save the Children is calling for the aid budget to be rebuilt to $5.5 billion in this term of government and progressively increased to 0.7 of Gross National Income by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Around the world, more and more people need our help. In Yemen, up to 14 million people are at risk of famine. In Bangladesh, almost one million Rohingya live in the largest refugee settlement in the world, having fled violence, bloodshed and persecution in Myanmar. In Syria, war continues to rage, leaving millions homeless while in the Pacific, malnutrition is actually on the increase,” Mr Tinkler said.
“More than ever before, Australia needs to stand up and be generous, and with the budget returning to surplus we are in an even better position to do so.”
Save the Children is also urging the government to immediately increase funding for humanitarian emergencies to $500m a year, as outlined in its Foreign Policy White Paper.
“The Coalition said that once the budget returned to surplus, Australia would increase humanitarian spending to $500m. Now’s the time to put their money where their mouth is,” Mr Tinkler said.
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