Nigel Spence, CEO of ChildFund Australia said, “The Abbott Government has a real opportunity to continue the success of Australia’s aid program and make widespread improvements in the lives of the world’s poorest people.
“With such strong public support for aid charities working in developing countries, and the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to date, Australia has an important role to play in bringing greater stability and prosperity to our region,” said Mr Spence.
This could be achieved through greater use of Australian NGOs in the delivery of aid. Currently only two per cent of Australia’s overseas aid budget is invested in Australian aid charities through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), despite their cost-effectiveness and reach into local communities.
However, ChildFund Australia is extremely disappointed in the recent announcement by Treasurer Joe Hockey that a growth in foreign aid funding would be reduced by $4.5 billion in order to support essential infrastructure projects in Australia.
“Tragically, cuts in aid spending have a human cost. It is impossible to put poverty on hold for millions of children and their families around the world,” continued Mr Spence.
In addition, Mr Hockey has stated that Australia’s deadline for increasing aid to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2017-18 is no longer set in stone. This is despite an original commitment made by the Howard Government in 2000 to double Australia’s aid budget, and which has since had bipartisan support.
ChildFund urges the Australian government to reconsider and reverse the planned cuts to aid.
ChildFund Australia also encourages the Abbott Government to retain the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) as a way to ensure accountability and urges the Government to address one of the core aims of the ACNC, which is to reduce and streamline the many state-based regulatory systems that charities currently have to navigate.
“The Abbott Government has the potential to become a leader in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of contribution and innovation. ChildFund Australia is looking forward to working in partnership with the Government to strengthen our collective impact against poverty,” concluded Mr Spence.