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Further aid cuts would be a foreign policy failure

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Vision 2020 Australia is deeply concerned by reports that foreign aid will face cuts for the fourth consecutive year in tonight’s Federal Budget.

Diverting money from foreign aid to boost funding for intelligence agencies ignores aid as a crucial component of Australia’s foreign policy.

Carla Northam, CEO of Vision 2020 Australia, says: ‘Not only does Australian aid lift people out of poverty, it fosters peace, sustainable local economies and protects our nation from regional conflicts.

‘Cuts to aid will increase inequality and instability, which is a driver of security threats the Government says it wants to address.

‘Supporting the world’s most vulnerable people, including those who are blind or vision impaired, also supports Australia’s national interests.’

With the hand down of the Federal Budget looming, Vision 2020 Australia has thrown its support behind the Campaign for Australian Aid initiative which helps Australians reach out to their local MP to oppose aid cuts.

Ms Northam says: ‘Vision 2020 Australia joins the Campaign for Australian Aid and other aid organisations imploring the Government to spare foreign aid from cuts in the Budget.

‘Globally, of the 223 million people who are blind or vision impaired, 90 per cent are living in developing countries.

‘Where the Australian Government has supported eye health and vision care, significant gains have been made towards eliminating avoidable vision loss and blindness.

‘This potential to make a positive difference cannot be realised if foreign aid faces further cuts.’

See our full 2017-18 Federal Budget analysis

ENDS

For more information: Adam Sawell at Vision 2020 Australia

03 9656 2020, 0401 096 507 or asawell@vision2020australia.org.au

About Vision 2020 Australia

As the national peak body for the eye health and vision care sector, Vision 2020 Australia represents over 50 member organisations involved in: local and global eye care; health promotion; low vision support; vision rehabilitation; eye research; professional assistance; and community support. Established in October 2000, Vision 2020 Australia is part of VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, a global initiative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

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