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Caritas disappointed on Australia’s cutback on overseas aid funding

Caritas Australia is disappointed to see the Government abandon its responsibilities as a global leader and further damage Australia’s reputation as a generous nation.

Cutting almost $8 billion from Australia’s Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) in Tuesday’s budget, the Australian Government is backing further away from its pre-election promises and our nation’s commitments to the international community. 

Though Australia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world our aid budget is currently ranked 13th out of the world’s 24 richest nations.

In a sidestep away from the world’s leading countries, Australia has dropped the internationally recognized measurement of aid commitments in proportion to a country’s income, and capped aid spending at $5 billion for the next two years, and CPI thereafter.

Caritas Australia CEO, Paul O’Callaghan says “Australia’s Coalition governments have a proud history of ensuring that Australia punched above its weight in international relations.

“We are disappointed to see this Coalition Government now back away from its leadership role amongst G20 countries and as a member of the UN Security Council.

“These cuts to aid spending undermine Australia’s positive and longstanding engagement in global politics and position Australia as a strong nation currently punching below its weight.”

Mr O’Callaghan added, “The decision to once more place the burden of Australia’s budget savings on the world’s poor, is out of step with national values, and our Catholic community’s strong support for international aid and development.”

Each year, around 2 million Australian households donate to aid charities to support their important work. Government funding helps make the hard earned dollars of these Australians go further.

Caritas is pleased that the government ANCP partnership program is set to continue and looks forward to receiving the government’s aid policy framework and performance benchmarks in the coming weeks.

This long-term government partnership, in 2012-13 alone, allowed Caritas Australia to reach more than 2.1 million people.

Caritas looks forward to partnering with government to ensure that Australian investments in economic growth and trade relations enable the world’s poorest access to improved security and prosperity.