Budget undermines Australia’s international credibility
WaterAid Australia is disappointed that the government has once again decided to cut foreign aid in its latest federal budget.
This decision demonstrates that the government is failing to respond to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, and failing to make the most of having integrated development into Foreign Affairs and Trade.
For the sixth consecutive year, foreign aid spending has declined in real-terms, falling as a proportion of Gross National Income to 21 cents in every $100 of income.
“Australia used to be a global leader on water, sanitation, and hygiene, but after six consecutive reductions to Australian aid, our level of investment in this area continues to be well below the OECD average,” WaterAid Australia Chief Executive Rosie Wheen said.
“This budget attacks Australia’s ability to partner with some of the most populous countries in our region and countries that are already struggling with massive internal and regional water security challenges”.
“Instead of building on Australia’s expertise to partner with Pakistan or Bangladesh or Cambodia to address country specific and regional water security challenges the budget undermines credibility of Australia to have meaningful development dialogue”.
“Other than investing more in the Pacific – which is welcome – this budget does nothing to respond to the strategic regional, health, climate and water security issues documented in the Australian Government’s Foreign Policy White Paper”.
WaterAid welcomes the increased focus on the Pacific through the funding of a $500 million grant component of the new Pacific Initiative, but believes this should not be coming from existing programs.
Interviews with Rosie Wheen available upon request.
Contact: Kevin Hawkins, Communications Manager: (03) 9001 8262 or [email protected]
WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone, everywhere has safe water, sanitation and hygiene. The international organisation works in countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific region to transform lives by improving access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene in some of the world’s poorest communities. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 24 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 24 million people with sanitation. For more information, visit: www.wateraid.org/au