Photo: The Australian Aid program in Vietnam is focused on promoting economic empowerment for women, particularly those living in poor, ethnic minority communities.
Sydney, Australia, 14 June 2016 – Today’s announcement by The Australian Greens that it will increase overseas aid to 0.7 percent over the next decade, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, has been welcomed by ChildFund Australia.
The Greens aid policy, launched today, states that Australia, as a wealthy nation, should provide support to less developed countries, and contribute its fair share to long-term development.
Senator di Natale also stated that the key purpose of Australia’s aid program should be alleviating poverty, not the promotion of national political and commercial interests.
ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence said: “Government changes in Australia’s aid policy direction in recent years have seen economic growth, private sector involvement, large-scale infrastructure funding and aid for trade become central to the Government’s aid program.
“As stated in our pre-budget submission this year, ChildFund believes that the primary, and overriding, objective of Australia’s overseas aid program must be human development. We support this commitment by The Greens to an Australian Aid program that prioritises poverty reduction.”
The Green’s aid policy also commits to greater funding being made available for humanitarian emergencies; the establishment of a separate and independent department to oversee aid delivery; and the provision of targeted climate change assistance to countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr Spence added: “We are also glad to see The Green’s aid policy recognise the importance of gender equality in international development programs. ChildFund’s experience points to the fact that poverty disproportionately affects women and girls.
“However, we are also witness to the high return on investment where programs are implemented which address discrimination and disadvantage for women and girls. For example, investment in girls’ education has proven to increase the number of female wage earners in society, increase productivity for employers, and reduce the incidence of child marriage.”
Regardless of who wins the election, ChildFund Australia calls on all political representatives to reach consensus on the future direction of Australia’s aid program and make a commitment to providing effective and long-term support to children and families living in poverty.
Mr Spence said: “The Australian Aid program helps to save lives. The data shows that globally six million fewer children die today than in 1990. Australian Aid has contributed to this achievement. We have much to be proud of.
“Our aid program also provides real benefits at home – stability and peace in our region, new trading markets for Australian businesses, and greater collaboration with our nearest neighbours. Supporting Australian Aid is not only the morally right thing to do, it makes good economic sense.”