ACFID Comment on Australian Government’s International COVID-19 ‘Partnerships for Recovery’ Strategy

29 May, 2020

Commenting on the release of the Government’s new ‘Partnerships for Recovery’ strategy, Marc Purcell, CEO of the Australian Council for International Development said:

“We welcome the Government’s leadership and strategic clarity on how it will use Australia’s development cooperation program and whole-of-government resources to tackle COVID-19 and protect vulnerable people.

“This is a once-in-a century threat to health and livelihoods. The Government’s ambition to become the Indo-Pacific ‘partner of choice’ in this crisis is the right one.

“Domestically, the Government has rightfully pulled out all the stops in responding to COVID-19. Our response into the region needs to be the same.

“As the Government concedes, the scale of the COVID-19 crisis will ‘dwarf the resources we have available’. To date, the Government has only drawn on the existing development cooperation budget and has repurposed existing programs in its response.

“In 2005, Prime Minister John Howard announced a new, additional $1bn humanitarian package for Indonesia after the devastating tsunami. To underpin this COVID-19 strategy, the Australian Government should allocate a new, one-off $2bn injection over four years at the next Federal Budget.

“It is very clear that Australians think we should share our expertise and increase our financial support to end COVID-19 beyond our shores.”

New YouGov polling – commissioned by the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) – and released today, shows that 72% of the public support the provision of expertise and increased financial support to the poorest nations to help tackle the pandemic. 

Purcell continued:

"To end COVID-19 means ending it for everyone, everywhere. We do not want the virus to circle back around.

“From Pacific communities who want to see the return of holidaymakers to Australian food manufacturers suffering from supply-chain breakdowns, resumption of ties is essential.

“New investments in the development program would not only assist the most vulnerable but will help accelerate the safe resumption of tourism and trade and catalyse the regional and global recovery.”

ACFID has welcomed the Australian Government's focus on protecting the vulnerable, the need to address climate change, inclusive growth and addressing the specific needs of women and girls, as part of the new strategy.

ACFID looks forward to further engagement with Australian Government on the implementation of the policy.

ENDS

For further information and interview requests with Marc Purcell, contact [email protected] or on 0401 721 064.

Notes to Editors

YouGov polled 1,044 people 18+ between 21-24 May 2020.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

Australia should support poorer countries to help tackle COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by providing expertise and increased financial support.

Strongly Agree

30%

Somewhat Agree

42%

Somewhat Disagree

15%

Strongly Disagree

7%

Don't know

6%

Net: Agree

72%

Net: Disagree

23%