ChildFund Australia has warmly welcomed Senator Penny Wong’s announcement that a Labor Shorten government would seek to rebuild the Australian Aid program.
This includes a commitment to increasing aid volumes over the long-term, and focusing on delivering aid programs in the areas of health, education, gender equality, climate change, infrastructure and inclusion.
ChildFund, is encouraged by the recognition given by Labor to the important role that overseas development assistance plays as a central pillar of Australia’s Foreign Policy.
In the light of Senator Wong’s announcement ChildFund CEO Nigel Spence has again urged all sides of politics to find common ground on Australian Aid.
Mr Spence said: “There are enormous challenges for people in poor communities around our region, often exacerbated by conflict and civil unrest, economic volatility, rising inequality, record-breaking numbers of displaced people, and increasing severity and frequency of natural disasters due to climate change. They need Australia’s help.
“Unfortunately, this global uncertainty is also resulting in greater nationalism and populist views.
“The Australian Aid program should reflect our national values of fairness, generosity, and compassion towards our neighbours. We want to see a renewed spirit of bipartisanship on aid among our political leaders.”
As it stands, the next Federal Budget will see overseas development assistance – which is already at the lowest level in Australia’s history – decline further to just 19c in every $100 of gross national income by 2021.
Mr Spence added: “Australian aid plays a vital role in giving vulnerable children in our region the opportunity to attend school, access healthcare, eat nutritious food, learn vocational skills, participate meaningfully in their communities and, importantly, give them hope for the future.
“For so many children, this has meant giving them back their childhood. The impact of Australian Aid in our region is something we can all be immensely proud of, and something that deserves the support of all of our political leaders.”