Caritas Australia, the Catholic Church’s international aid and development agency, welcomes the Australian Labor Party’s announcement of a modest first step towards restoring Australia’s levels of aid and development funding.
Deputy Opposition Leader, Tanya Plibersek, today pledged that a Labor government would restore $30 million in funding to Australian Aid NGOs to partially redress deep funding cuts made in the last two years and to legislate a statement of purpose for the aid program.
Caritas Australia CEO Paul O’Callaghan says: “As welcome as this announcement is, Labor is yet to indicate any financial commitment by Labor to start rebuilding Australia’s international aid program in the foreseeable future. This is despite Australia now having the lowest level of spending in the history of the aid program.”
"As one of the wealthiest countries in the world and with the sixth lowest level of debt among all OECD countries, it reflects poorly on both major political parties that Australian leaders can only commit to a spending level of 22 cents in every $100 of our national income for aid. This is less than one third the level of the UK and Ireland."
“The Catholic community expects much more of Australian national leaders. We need to return to the type of proportionate contribution to international aid and development which firmly established Australia's global leadership reputation since the 1950s”, said Mr O’Callaghan.
“Today's announcement is welcome but we call on both the Government and Opposition to agree to a bipartisan commitment to restore an appropriate aid budget for one the world's most privileged nations".