Comments on the Prime Minister’s Pacific ‘Step-Up’ Announcements

08 Nov, 2018

Marc Purcell, CEO of the Australian Council for International Development:

“The frank admission by the Prime Minister that ‘too often’ we have taken our Pacific neighbours for granted and the announcement of plans to deepen Australia’s ties is welcome.

“Recommitting to development cooperation with Pacific neighbours is a positive step. However, poverty alleviation and sustainable development should be the priority.

“There are already a significant number of lenders to the Pacific and many Pacific nations are already suffering from debt distress. Since 1996, the IMF and World Bank have sought to reduce the burden on heavily indebted countries because debt servicing means spending on health and education suffers. We need to lend responsibly and act in Pacific nation’s interests.

“The glaring omission in the Prime Minister’s announcement is climate change. Pacific leaders have described climate change as their single greatest threat. If the Government is serious about a step-up in the Pacific, climate change can’t be put in the ‘too difficult box’.

“We are still waiting on a climate change strategy for the aid program.”

ACFID has called on the Australian Government to increase Australia's Official Development Assistance. 

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