International aid is essential


2 Dec 2014 | AU

Tonight Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs is honouring 40 years of Australian aid with the launch of an exhibition called Close-Up: Celebrating 40 years of Australian Aid at the Nishi Gallery in Canberra. WaterAid is delighted to have a photo of a WaterAid project in Timor-Leste, which shows children joyfully experiencing clean, safe water in their village, included as one of the featured images of the exhibition.

“Looking at the photos, Australia’s role in the region and the achievements of our aid program over the years is apparent. Australian aid has made a significant contribution across the world over the past four decades, lifting people out of poverty and empowering them to play a more constructive role in their local and national economy,” said WaterAid Australia Chief Executive Mr Paul Nichols.

“As we reflect on the success of our aid program, it’s clear that now is not the time to reduce Australia’s aid investment. To do so would be contrary to Australia’s national interest. A more prosperous region brings enormous economic benefits for Australia and also national security and international harmony,” said Mr Nichols.

“Aid is particularly important in advancing the needs and rights of women and girls, people with disabilities, and other marginalised groups, because it is those groups that are disproportionately affected by poverty. Any further cuts to the aid budget would therefore undermine some of the government's most pressing foreign aid and development priorities, including the advancement of women and girls,” said Mr Nichols.

“Water, toilets, and hygiene are essential to poverty reduction and economic growth around the world. For every $1 spent on improved water and sanitation, for example, there is $4 economic return to the local community and national economy,” said Mr Nichols.

The Government’s investment in Australian aid also encourages other institutional, private sector and individual donors to address poverty and underdevelopment. WaterAid is supported by 120 private sector companies and 35 members from the water industry, and has active campaigners and organisations committed to supporting our work. 


Kirrily Johns, Communications Manager: 03 9001 8246 or

About WaterAid

WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. The international organisation works in 26 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 21 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 18 million people with sanitation. For more information, visit: