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ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence has expressed disappointment that the Government will not be increasing the aid budget as a percentage of Australia’s national income during 2012-13.

May 7, 2012

ChildFund Australia disappointed in government’s failure to support children living in poverty

ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence has expressed disappointment that the Government will not be increasing the aid budget as a percentage of Australia’s national income during 2012-13.

Today, Treasurer Wayne Swan announced that the aid budget would remain at 0.35% of GNI. The government also stated that the aid program would not reach the 0.5% target until 2016-17 – a delay of two years on it’s original promise.

Spence said: “Delays in aid spending, tragically, have a human cost. Despite recent economic hardships as a result of the global financial crisis, as one of the world’s wealthiest nations Australia can afford to support those in need at home, and continue to provide life-saving support to communities in developing countries.”

Last year, the Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness found that Australia’s aid program makes a significant difference to the lives of families in developing countries. It also confirmed that in addition to being well-managed, by the government and partners such as ChildFund, it is also extremely cost-effective.

“Our aid budget appears to have reached a standstill, with only 35c in every $100 committed to saving and improving the lives of the world’s poorest children. This is extremely saddening, when Australia’s contribution to global efforts such as the Millennium Development Goals has given us so much to be proud of – including 4 million fewer child deaths per year; an enormous achievement.”

Increasing Australia’s aid commitment has had bipartisan support since being initiated by the Howard Government in 2000, when it promised to double Australian aid. Over the last decade, overseas development assistance has risen by over 15%, from a spend of just 25 cents in every $100 in 2000.

“Unfortunately, it is impossible to put poverty on hold for millions of children and their families around the world. Lives will be at risk as a result of this decision.”

HISTORICAL BUDGET ESTIMATES

Year

$bn

as % of GNI

Minister for Foreign Affairs

2000-01

1.6

0.25

The Hon. Alexander Downer MP

2001-02

1.73

0.25%

The Hon. Alexander Downer MP

2002-03

1.82

0.25%

The Hon. Alexander Downer MP

2003-04

1.89

0.25%

The Hon. Alexander Downer MP

2004-05

2.13

0.26%

The Hon. Alexander Downer MP

2005-06

2.49

0.28%

The Hon. Alexander Downer MP

2006-07

2.95

0.30%

The Hon. Alexander Downer MP

2007-08

3.16

0.30%

The Hon. Alexander Downer MP

2008-09

3.70

0.32%

The Hon. Stephen Smith MP

2009-10

3.82

0.34%

The Hon. Stephen Smith MP

2010-11

4.35

0.33%

The Hon. Stephen Smith MP

2011-12

4.84

0.35%

The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP

2012-13

5.20

0.35%

Senator The Hon. Bob Carr

PHOTO: For the first time, children living in Paka village in Laos have a school in the community offering complete primary education. The new school was built with the support of ChildFund Australia and the Australian government’s aid program.