THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT'S 'FRESH NEW APPROACH' ON OVERSEAS AID
WEDNESDAY, 18 JUNE 2014
The Abbott Government is wrong if it thinks its 'fresh new approach' to aid can explain away its devastating $7.6 billion cut in aid to the world's poor. The aid program doesn’t need cosmetic makeovers, it needs appropriate levels of funding and experienced delivery.
Julie Bishop must explain to the world's poorest nations how her 'fresh new approach' will make all the difference while she rips billions from the budget that supports things like food programs, childhood immunisation, maternal health, and treatment for HIV and malaria. Ms Bishop must rule out cuts to programs like these.
Labor is also concerned by Ms Bishop's suggestion that Australia's overseas aid can be outsourced to the private sector.
The Abbott Government's $7.6 billion cut to aid includes a $110 million decrease for the Asia-Pacific in one year alone - despite the Government's claims that its aid program would focus on our region.
This comes on top of the Abbott Government sacking 500 staff from the foreign affairs department, including former AusAID experts with critical experience in delivering overseas aid. The loss of that expertise threatens the effectiveness of Australian aid.
Labor supports efforts to increase the accountability and effectiveness of Australia's overseas aid. That's why, in Government, Labor undertook a review of aid effectiveness and implemented internationally recognised aid accountability and effectiveness measures.
In contrast to the Abbott Government, Labor improved accountability and effectiveness while at the same time nearly doubling the aid budget - from $2.9 billion to $5.7 billion per year.