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Senate report one step closer to clarifying the future of Australia’s foreign aid program

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Vision 2020 Australia has welcomed the recent Senate report into Australia’s overseas aid program. The report contains a number of recommendations that, if adopted, would provide a clear roadmap for the future of Australia’s international development program.  

“This is a welcome report for Australian NGOs and takes us one step closer to clarifying the future for Australian aid,” CEO of Vision 2020 Australia, Jennifer Gersbeck said.

“The lack of clarity around the Coalition’s foreign aid program has left many NGOs in limbo.”

“Unpredictability not only affects organisations working in the sector but has a direct negative impact on the poor living in our region,” Ms Gersbeck said.

“The report’s recommendation for a release of an overarching policy framework is an opportunity for the Government to spell out its policy positions to clearly guide the administration of aid funding.”  

Vision 2020 Australia also welcomes the bi-partisan support for a time-bound commitment to return spending on aid to 0.5 per cent of the Gross National Income.

“Australia has an economy envied by the rest of the world and we have a moral obligation to look after those who are worse off than us.”

Ms Gersbeck said poverty in Asia and the Pacific was an enormous problem but simple, cost effective, eye health interventions were playing a dramatic role in helping to solve this problem.

“Around 223.4 million people have a vision impairment, 32.4 million of whom are blind. Some 90 per cent of these people live in developing countries and around half of blindness occurs in Asia and the Pacific,” she said. 

“With 80 per cent of blindness and vision loss preventable or treatable effective aid is critical to ensure more people have access to sight-restoring surgeries, eye screenings and the provision of spectacles.”

Research has shown that interventions to improve eye health in developing countries are among the most cost effective public health programs available, and return $4 for every $1 invested.

“Vision 2020 Australia awaits the release of the 2014-15 Federal Budget and will be looking for clarity from the Abbott government for the future of Australia’s overseas aid and development assistance program”, Ms Gersbeck said.

The full report can be found at:
aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/foreign_Affairs_Defence_and_Trade/Overseas_aid/Report/index

ENDS

Media Contact

Louise Rudzki, Vision 2020 Australia, (03) 9656 2020 +61 414 784 359, lrudzki@vision2020australia.org.au

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