Bipartisan committee calls for aid increase

Bipartisan committee calls for aid increase

A bipartisan parliamentary panel has recommended Australia increase its international aid budget in the Indo-Pacific region.

The surprising recommendation arrived just a week after the 2019 Federal Budget was handed down. It is also just under a week before Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to call an election.

The first report for the inquiry into Australia’s aid program in the Indo-Pacific was prepared by Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

Chris Crewther is the Liberal Member for Dunkley and Chair of the Sub‑Committee.

“Australia has the capacity to do more, and stability and certainty in the aid budget will enable Australia’s aid program to build on its achievements through new investments to assist women and girls, people with a disability, and other poor and marginalised groups,” Mr Crewther said.
 

Micah Australia’s CEO Rev. Tim Costello welcomed the report.

“After another devastating blow to the aid budget this week, there is finally some good news on the horizon,” he said.

“This report shows that politicians on both sides clearly know the right way forward for our aid program and have recognised that a serious injustice has been done to the aid budget over the past few years.”

“What has happened has not been fair, nor has it been smart.”

The Committee identified a need to ‘strengthen Australians’ confidence in the aid program.

The report recommends measures to raise awareness about the benefits of Australia’s aid program, and that the Australian Government should commit to a time-frame to increase Australia’s investment in aid over the coming decade.

Rev. Costello said the report was heartening.

“When was the last time you heard something bipartisan on aid? Well here it is.”

“I am calling on both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to back this report on aid and show bipartisan leadership.”

Mr Costello said the report was a step in the right direction in making a case for a better way to deal with aid.

“As this report details, good, long-term development requires stability and predictability in funding. But each year the sector experiences a ‘merry-go-round’, wondering whether there will be cuts or not.”

Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor

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