THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
WORLD AIDS DAY – THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT MUST DO MORE
MONDAY, 1 DECEMBER 2014
World AIDS Day today reminds us that Australia must redouble its efforts to fight HIV/AIDS across the globe.
The international community’s work is paying great dividends. Worldwide, new HIV infections have fallen by 38 per cent, and AIDS relate deaths have dropped by 35 per cent.
Which is why it’s so disappointing to see the Abbott Government cut overseas aid that goes towards work including programs aimed at fighting HIV/AIDS.
In Government, Labor increased funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria from about $75 million per triennium to around $200 million.
By contrast, the Abbott Government has fallen $175 million short of the expected contribution from Australia to replenish the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. To put that in context, $175 million could provide about 1.1 million extra people in low-income countries with a year’s worth of anti-retroviral HIV treatment.
In Government, Labor almost doubled the aid budget – from $2.9 billion to $5.7 billion.
By contrast, the Abbott Government has cut $7.6 billion from the aid budget. That includes, for example, a cut of $49 million from aid to Indonesia, where new HIV infections have increased by 48 per cent. In addition, in its first Budget, the Abbott Government cut $1.7 million from UNAIDS and $2.8 million from the UNFPA, the reproductive health, family planning and sexual health arm of the UN.
We want support for serious action to combat HIV/AIDS to be bipartisan. But international aid organisations, doing excellent work around the world, cannot continue to do more with less.