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Aid cuts fail the world’s poorest

The Fred Hollows Foundation has expressed disappointment with tonight’s Federal Budget, which has delivered tens of billions of dollars in tax cuts while again reducing aid to the world’s poorest people. 
 
In a budget of largesse that will provide $80 billion in company tax cuts, as well as tax cuts for high-income earners, the Government has once again cut funding for Australian aid.  
 
“This budget was an opportunity for the Government to demonstrate its commitment to helping some of the poorest people in the world and to Australia doing its bit to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Ian Wishart, CEO of The Fred Hollows Foundation. 
 
“Sadly, this budget takes Australia even further away from a commitment to aid we could be proud of.” 
 
Foreign aid currently sits at 0.22% of Gross National Income and by 2021-2022 it will fall to just 0.19%, meaning Australia will spend just 19 cents for every $100 dollars of its national income on aid. 
 
This continues the Government’s trend of reducing aid, which has been slashed by more than 30 per cent since 2014, despite an increase in government revenue, government spending and tax cuts in the same period. 
 
“This budget has been positioned as one of the most generous ever, but it fails to share that generosity with the world’s poorest people, nearly half of whom live in our region,” Mr Wishart said. 
 
 “Australia prides itself on its track record of helping people most in need, but sadly, we don’t see those humanitarian values reflected in the Federal Budget announced tonight. 
 
“Instead, we see a budget that rewards big business and the wealthy at the expense of aid.” 
 
At a time when New Zealand has just announced it is increasing its aid budget by $700 million, tonight’s budget announcement keeps Australia on track to reach new historic lows for foreign aid. 
 
Australia has already fallen to 19th out of the 29 countries that give international aid and is now further away from being able to deliver on its commitment to increase aid funding in line with other developed nations. 
 
“New Zealand has just announced a big increase in aid and many Australians will feel a sense of shame that we are going in the opposite direction,” Mr Wishart said.  
 

Ends. 

  • Available for interview: The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Director of Public Affairs, Nick Martin, is available for interview in Canberra on Budget Night or the morning of 9 May, or in Sydney on 9 May.
  • The Foundation’s CEO, Ian Wishart, is also available for interview in Sydney on 9 May. 
 
For more information or interviews please contact: Nishara Miles, Senior Media Adviser, on 0402 445 500 or nmiles@hollows.org 
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