Aid deferral has huge cost

Aid deferral has huge cost

When the Treasurer delivered the Federal Budget on May 8 he broke a promise as unnecessary as it was damaging, says UnitingWorld.

The Budget contained the news that the Government has decided not to increase the aid budget in the coming year from 0.35% to 0.38% of Australia’s Gross National Income (GNI) as promised.

The budget also indicates that the goal of reaching 0.5% of GNI (that’s 50 cents in every $100) by 2015 has been set back to 2016-17.

In effect this means the government has taken $2.9 billion dollars from the lives of people who desperately need our support.

In doing so it has unilaterally turned its back on reaching the Millennium Development Goals on schedule and halving international poverty by 2015.

UnitingWorld National Director, the Rev. Dr Kerry Enright, said, “Despite the political rhetoric, Australians do not have to choose between our own needs and those of the 1.4 billion people who live in extreme poverty, many on our own doorstep. It’s a false choice. We are wealthy enough to take care of both.

“I would like to thank the many people who expressed their concern to politicians by phone, email and tweet,” said Dr Enright. “Thank you for your interest and commitment.”

He said the question now was, “What can we do about this?”

He said people immediately needed to put pressure on the Coalition to stand by their promise. They too have agreed to the target of 0.5% GNI by 2015.

“Please contact a local coalition MP today and ask them to ensure the Coalition honours this promise in its Budget reply on Thursday night.”

People could also email shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop asking her to safeguard the Coalition’s support for the 0.5% target by 2015.

“We can also commend the matter to our prayers, remembering the decision makers in our parliament and also the millions affected by their decisions,” said Dr Enright. “We can all play our part in what is truly a matter of life and death for so many in God’s world.”

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