ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence and ChildFund Alliance Chair Michael Rose have signed an open letter sent to the Prime Minister today, urging that next week’s budget does not break its promise to the world’s poor.
Other signatories to the letter, issued by the Australian Council for International Development, include 2012 Australian of the Year Geoffrey Rush, entertainers The Wiggles and Jimmy Barnes, as well as former Prime Minister the Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC CH.
Prominent church and business leaders have also thrown their support behind the letter, such as Major John Rees, Director of the Salvation Army NSW, 2011 Australian of the Year Simon McKeon, CEO of Yahoo7 Rohan Lund, and Managing Director and CEO of Macquarie Bank Greg Ward.
In 2000, Australia agreed to play its part in global efforts to halve the number of people living in poverty by 2015. In 2005, John Howard promised to double Australian aid, and the Gillard Government has reaffirmed this commitment, promising to lift the levels of Australian aid to 0.5 per cent of our national income by 2015.
To date, leaders from both sides of politics have demonstrated a continued commitment to poverty reduction. However, there have been some serious indications from government that next week’s budget will not see any further measures put in place to reach the 0.5% goal by 2015.
Spence said: “Delays in aid spending, tragically, have a human cost – it is impossible to put poverty on hold for millions of children and their families around the world. Reaching the 0.5% target could save the lives of 800,000 people over the next four years.”