The Church is among a coalition of prominent Christian leaders who have written to Treasurer Scott Morrison urging him not to go ahead with scheduled cuts to Australian aid in next month’s federal budget, reports SBS.
The Government is expected to cut foreign aid by $224 million, leaving around $3.8 billion for the 2016-17 aid budget. The cut may make Australia’s aid contribution the least generous it has ever been as a proportion of national income.
The letter, which SBS understands was sent to the Treasurer’s Canberra office earlier this week, was signed by various regional and national leaders in the Uniting, Anglican, Catholic and Lutheran churches.
“As leaders within Australia’s Christian denominations, we write to call on you not to proceed with planned cuts to Australia’s aid budget,” the letter said.
"Coming on top of more than $11 billion in cuts to aid since coming to office, this will be the fourth time the Government has targeted Australian aid for cuts.
Mr Morrison’s office declined to comment on the letter.
“The Government doesn’t speculate on the Budget,” a spokesperson told SBS. “The Budget will be handed down on May 3.”
Ben Thurley, the national co-ordinator of Micah Australia, which organised the letter, said he was optimistic the Budget could be changed at the last minute.
“There are genuinely budget difficulties,” Mr Thurley said.
Mr Thurley said the signatory churches saw the Budget as a “moral document”, not just a financial one.