ChildFund welcomes Labor commitment to rebuilding Australia's aid program

Photo: The Australian Aid program has given nearly 1.4 million children in Cambodia the opportunity to attend school.

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Tanya Plibersek today announced that a Labor government would increase Australia’s aid budget by $30 million, with the increased funding supporting poverty alleviation programs delivered by Australian aid agencies.

CEO of ChildFund Australia Nigel Spence said: “Ms Plibersek’s comments are extremely welcome, as they demonstrate a commitment to rebuilding the Australian Aid program, which has suffered from a series of devastating cuts in recent years.

“Ms Plibersek has also highlighted the effective and valuable role that organisations such as ChildFund play at a grassroots level, delivering real improvements for children and families in the areas of education, child and maternal health, and water and sanitation.”

While Ms Plibersek stated that it was not possible to repair the aid program to former levels immediately, she will seek to enshrine in legislation the primary objective of Australia’s aid program: poverty reduction. She also stated that Labor would introduce new accountability measures.

“Equally welcome to the increase in funding is the focus on ensuring greater transparency of Australia’s aid program. This is absolutely vital,” said Mr Spence.

Aid agencies are currently calling on the Coalition Government to reconsider its fourth consecutive cut to the aid budget, planned for December as part of the Mid-Year Economic Forecast. This will reduce Australia's aid program to its lowest historical level.

Mr Spence added: “We have been heartened to see Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull appoint Steve Ciobo to the new portfolio of International Development and the Pacific.

“Hopefully, this will translate to a renewed focus on the important role that Australia’s aid program plays in promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, lifting standards of living and enhancing stability in our region.”