The peak body for Australia’s international aid NGOs has today released its submission to the Federal Government ahead of the May budget, calling for promises on aid to be kept.
The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) believes the May budget is the time for certainty, clarity and predictability in Australia’s overseas aid, and has asked the Government to ensure this is delivered by fulfilling their election commitments on aid and development.
“Over the last eighteen months we have seen rolling changes in the Australian aid program,” said Marc Purcell, ACFID Executive Director. “These have included the diversion of funds to domestic spending, mid-year budget cuts and the abolition of AusAID.”
“The May budget represents an opportunity for the Government to stabilise aid spending and build a strong, effective overseas aid program that helps lift people out of extreme poverty,” he said.
“We call on the Government to ensure that their aid promises are implemented. This includes ensuring the overall aid budget grows in line with CPI, from the current base of $5.046 billion.”
“We also want the Government to benchmark exactly how it will fulfill its promise to put more money through the effective programs of NGOs. Just 6% of the entire aid program is currently channeled through Australian NGOs, who have decades of experience and the capacity to deliver aid effectively,” he said.
The Government has consistently outlined their priority in international development to be the sustainable growth of economies, in order to alleviate poverty. ACFID’s budget submission, Foundations for Sustainable Growth and Development, provides ten clear recommendations that would assist the Government to pursue this goal.
“We must focus our aid efforts on ensuring that the poorest are included in the benefits of economic growth,” Mr Purcell said. “This includes funding proposals that target the inclusion of women and girls in all aspects of society, ensuring healthy communities, including people with disabilities and ensuring that human development is protected through spending on disaster risk reduction,” he said.
“We have also proposed innovative programs that will boost cooperation between the private sector, government and civil society,” said Mr Purcell. “These include a pilot program to encourage experts to come together and tackle niche problems for the benefit of all, as well as a Grand Challenges fund focused on innovative solutions to global problems,” he said.
“It is time for a new predictability in aid funding,” Mr Purcell said. “We look forward to seeing the Government’s promises being implemented through the 2014 aid budget.”
Foundations for Sustainable Growth and Development, as well as a short Overview document, can be accessed at: http://www.acfid.asn.au/resources-publications/submissions/pre-budget-submissions-and-analysis
Joy Kyriacou, + 61 412 084 782, email@example.com