Caritas Australia chief Paul O’Callaghan says he is alarmed to hear that the Turnbull Government is considering cutting Australia’s foreign aid budget by up to 10 per cent.
Fairfax Media reported last Thursday that the government was considering a $400 million a year cut to the overseas aid budget. Sources said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is “modelling” ways to slice 10 per cent from aid budget even though cuts since 2014 have already reduced Australia’s aid contribution to just 22 cents for every $100 of gross national income, the smallest share on record.
Caritas Australia said the potential cuts would significantly undermine our country’s efforts to help end extreme poverty, save lives, and support communities in times of major humanitarian disasters.
Mr O’Callaghan said the government’s plans run in stark contrast to the compassion and generosity of the Australian people.
“At Caritas Australia, we have just run our Easter Lenten appeal whereby thousands of people – mums, dads, grandparents and school children – raised millions of dollars for Project Compassion,” he said. “These are generous Australians from every walk of life showing leadership by donating their time, effort and money to stand in solidarity with the world’s poorest communities.
“Yet our government is demonstrating the opposite, choosing instead to walk away from the poor.”
One of the areas that the government is considering cutting aid funding is health. Mr O’Callaghan says; “this would end support for thousands of projects throughout the world that don’t just save lives but also enable new lives to be born.
“As one example, Caritas Australia has been working in partnership with the Safe Motherhood Program in Bangladesh for 10 years, a program that has been financially supported by the Australian Government. The program has enabled tens of thousands of women to safely give birth. It is programs like this that are now at risk.”
Caritas urged concerned Australians to contact their federals MPs.
Potential aid cuts fly in the face of a compassionate nation (Caritas Australia)
The Turnbull government is mulling more cuts to overseas aid (Sydney Morning Herald)
Australia shirking on foreign aid: Tim Costello (The Australian)