Campaign for Australian Aid challenges Coalition Government to match ALP aid pledge in new ad

Advert.jpgFull-page adverts published in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian today by the Campaign for Australian Aid, call on the Coalition Government to match the pledge made by the Australian Labor Party on Saturday to start to restore the aid budget.

In an appearance on ABC's 7:30 program last night, the minister for foreign affairs and deputy leader, Julie Bishop, criticised Labor's policy announcement, stating that it "was a modest increase" and labelling it a "non-event".

Says Tony Milne, campaign director, Campaign for Australian Aid: "If this is a modest increase as Julie Bishop claims, then it should be easy for the Coalition to match or better Labor's pledge.
"Labor's commitment of $800 million in extra funding over the forward estimates, starting with the reversal of the most recent $224 million cut, is an important first step towards repairing the Australian aid budget to a fairer level."

Bishop's comments follow the largest ever cuts being made to Australia's aid budget, taking Australia to the lowest levels of aid ever as a share of national income. The cuts include:

-Last year's largest ever single year cut of $1 billion
-This year's fourth largest single year cut of $224 million (in current dollars it is the second biggest cut)
-Aid funding slashed from $5.1 billion per year to $3.8 billion per year

Says Milne: "These were real cuts to children's healthcare, education, immunisation and more. The Coalition's aid budget in future years does incorporate CPI increases, but that will mean that as a percentage of GNI, aid will still continue to fall, and that is now off a rock bottom base level.

"Australian aid is the contribution Australians make to a fairer and more equal world for everyone and the issue should be above party politics."

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