Australian Government Budget 2017-18

2 min read

WaterAid Australia is disappointed by the Australian Government’s announcement on Tuesday night that further cuts will be made to Australia’s aid program.

Rosie Wheen, Chief Executive of WaterAid Australia said, "Although we welcome the increase to the aid budget over the next two years, in real terms this increase will barely be above the rate of inflation. The Government’s announcement of a freezing of the aid budget in the two years following will result in a cut of $300 million to aid that was previously allocated in the forward estimates.”

“For us at WaterAid what matters most is that these cuts have the least direct impact possible on the hundreds of millions of people worldwide living without access to clean, safe water and improved sanitation," said Ms Wheen.

“Though we welcome the announcement of a small increase to funding for water, sanitation and hygiene this year, a freeze on the aid budget in coming years will present a challenge to sustaining progress currently being made towards a world in which everyone has access to the basic rights of water and sanitation,” said Ms Wheen.

“This challenge is particularly pressing in our region, given that countries in the Pacific suffer from some of the worst water and sanitation coverage rates in the world. In Papua New Guinea only 40% of people have access to safe water and only 19% have access to adequate sanitation,” said Ms Wheen.

“At a time when Australia should be strengthening our investments in helping countries to provide all of their citizens with these most basic rights, we are undermining our future ability to do so. WaterAid urges the Government to reverse its decision to freeze aid, and ensure that it continues to provide room in the budget to increase investments in water and sanitation in the years ahead. For the continued development of the Asia-Pacific region, we cannot afford not to.”