While support for the Indo-Pacific and Southeast Asia was a strong step forward, much more support is needed for the Horn of Africa, where people are facing their fifth consecutive year of drought with more than 20 million people on the brink of famine by Christmas
ChildFund welcomes the additional $1.4 billion over 4 years in Official Development Assistance (ODA) announced in the Albanese Governments first Federal Budget handed down last night.
There are some solid initiatives in the budget, some of the highlights that will assist in helping families prosper include:
- Increased development assistance to the Pacific and Timor Leste by $900 million over the next four years,
- $470 million commitment to Southeast Asia over the next four years,
- Reinstatement of the 80% gender investment target,
- Confirmation of funding for Pacific Women Lead and Women Together,
- $65 million through the Indo-Pacific Gender Equality Fund,
- Continuing to deliver sexual and reproductive health services to women in Southeast Asia,
- The restoration of funding to the disability central budget, and:
- $30 million increase to the world class Australian NGO Cooperation Program
There were, however, some disappointments. ChildFund Australia remains concerned that:
- There is an absence of increased humanitarian investment to address multiple complex emergencies including the largest food crisis in 100 years in the Horn of Africa.
- While additional financial commitments in the development budget are positive, we are conscious that this won’t address the decline in aid relative to Gross Nation Income in the coming years.
- ChildFund is concerned that specific measures for children are largely invisible in the ODA budget. The organisation encourages the Australian Government to be intentional regarding their vision for development and the impact on children and young people.
Margaret Sheehan CEO of ChildFund Australia was concerned about the lack of focus placed on children living in difficult circumstances across the regions in the ODA budget.
“Young people face intense challenges in the forthcoming years, from the continued threat of escalating gender-based violence, access to education, the ongoing pandemic impacts through to shouldering the burden of climate change. To address these concerns, they will need clear and decisive support from our government,” she said.
“Children and young people comprise the bulk of the population in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, and without a plan to tackle the critical issues, we risk missing the mark”
“Moving forward, we urge the Albanese Government to put children and young people at the centre of the forthcoming aid policy development.”