Labor Party Commitment to Increased Aid Funding a Foreign Policy Leap Forward

18 Dec, 2018

The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) – the peak-body for aid and international development NGOs – has welcomed today’s Labor Party Conference resolution to increase international development program expenditure as a percentage of gross national income every year that Labor is in office starting with its first budget.

Based on median wealth per adult, Australia is currently the richest country in the world, but has dropped to 19th as an aid donor compared to its OECD counterparts.1 Australia now spends only 21 cents on aid and development for every $100 of income.

ACFID Director of Policy and Advocacy, Bridi Rice said:

“Increasing funding for Australia’s development program is a smart move for a future Australian Government.  Amidst geopolitical competition in our region, bolstering funding for an effective development program would be a great leap forward for Australian foreign policy."

Ahead of the next General Election, ACFID has called for a future Australian Government to leverage and extend the impact of the international development program and avoid the trap of sacrificing poverty reduction for infrastructure. 

Bridi Rice said:

“There is a growing securitisation of Australian foreign policy which serves to undermine peace and stability and the global environment in which Australia can thrive.  Human development, poverty reduction and development cooperation are critical antidotes.

“After years of relentless cuts to the aid program, we are delighted that the Labor Party is showing signs of vision and leadership for an Australia where development, defence and diplomacy are equally recognised as foreign policy tools. This is the strategic future of development cooperation in the region, not kneejerk reactions to competition with China."

ACFID has called for the Labor party to release details on how it plans to honour this commitment ahead of the election in 2019.

ENDS

Authorised by Bridi Rice, Canberra.