Caritas Australia has welcomed the Coalition as it forms Government, but has urged the party to reverse its proposal to cut $4.5 billion from Australia’s foreign aid program over the next four years.
The proposed deep cuts to foreign aid were announced last Thursday, just two days before the election, and will be used to pay for the nation’s roads.
Caritas Acting CEO, Helen Forde, said the new Coalition government should also unveil exactly where the proposed cuts are coming from. 'Politicians continue to treat life-saving overseas aid dollars like a blank cheque to help balance the books for domestic policies and this is unacceptable,' Ms Forde said.
'Australia is a rich, prosperous nation with a strong economy, yet our nearest neighbours, in East and South East Asia and the Pacific account for about 20 per cent of the world’s poorest people.
'As a nation we are more than capable of continuing our commitment to the world’s poor and we call on Tony Abbott as the next Prime Minister to reverse the proposal to cut $4.5 billion over the next four years.
'We are saddened by the increasing habit of our political leaders in diverting and proposing cuts to our foreign aid budget to pay for their domestic policy costs such as processing asylum seekers and building better infrastructure like roads.'
Ms Forde said the proposed cuts would play havoc with Australia’s international reputation. 'During the last Federal Election, both major parties committed to reaching 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015, 50 cents in every $100, to be spent on foreign aid,' Ms Forde said.
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