THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
LABOR BACKS CALL FOR MORE HELP TO SOUTH SUDAN
FRIDAY, 15 AUGUST 2014
Australia can and should do more in response to the food crisis in South Sudan.
The ‘fair share’ analysis released by Oxfam shows Australia should be contributing around $26 million this year – almost twice the amount it currently does.
Instead of lifting our efforts, the largest single cut in the Abbott Government’s Budget was to foreign aid, with one in every five dollars saved at the expense of the world’s poor.
Now we are seeing the Government having to provide emergency humanitarian aid to countries where they have cut Australia’s normal aid program earlier in the year, like Iraq and the Palestinian Territories.
In the last two years of the Labor Government, the aid provided to Syria was more than three times the amount given by the Abbott Government to date, even though the number of refugees in need is increasing every day.
The Government’s $7.6 billion cuts to foreign aid are a blow to the ability of countries in the developing world to build up their stability, independence and self-reliance.
It is in Australia’s interests to help countries build stable and thriving economies and societies, rather than waiting to respond to a humanitarian crisis.
Like the Abbott Government’s short-sighted cuts in so many other areas, their cuts to foreign aid are setting us up for much larger costs down the track.
And, as always, the Abbott Government places the heaviest burden on the people least able to shoulder it.