The Edmund Rice Centre has today expressed its grave concerns over reports that the Turnbull Government is considering a $400 million a year cut to the overseas aid budget.
Any decision by the Turnbull Government to cut Australia’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) would come at the worst possible time – last year, the United Nations warned the world was facing the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945. The Government has already cut the overseas aid budget by over 30 per cent since coming to office in 2013.
While reports in today’s news suggest the Pacific will be exempt from cuts, the Centre is calling on the Government to increase ODA for the region, especially in light of the increasing challenges caused by climate change.
“It’s not good enough for the Government to say it is exempting the Pacific from overseas aid cuts – we need to be increasing our support for the region at this time,” the Centre’s Coordinator of Development and Communications, Dominic Ofner said.
“The Pacific is at the frontline of climate change, and the Government can do more to support the region build resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
“Climate change is fast exacerbating the significant development challenges faced by our neighbours in the Pacific, especially in low-lying Pacific atoll countries like Kiribati and Tuvalu. Exempting the Pacific from cuts is one thing, we need to see a significant increase.
“While the Government is providing $300 million between 2016 and 2020 for climate change and resilience in the Pacific region, this pales into insignificance when compared to the approximately $5 billion it provides each year to support fossil fuel industries.
“As caring people, Australians expect our Government to help build a better and fairer future for people around the world.
"The Government is out of step with the vast majority of Australians who are big-hearted and far-sighted.”
Media Contact: Dominic Ofner 0407 678 564