AID/WATCH, an independent watchdog on aid and trade has released a report card of the Australian aid program under the coalition. The report card shows that under the Liberal/National Coalition aid has not only reduced at an unprecedented rate, the lowest level as a proportion to national income since the early 1970s, but that aid has become a tool to serve Australia’s national interest rather than reduce poverty.

AID/WATCH Chair, James Goodman, said:

“The last three years have seen an unprecedented deconstruction of the aid program with the placing Australia’s national and economic interest front and centre.

“The public expects that the aid program is there to benefit the poor across the world, but the reality is that it has become more about Australia’s interests and Australian companies than ever before.

“From AID/WATCH’s perspective, aid is being misused and is losing credibility and public trust and support.  The whole theory of the aid program now relies on ‘trickle down’ economics, a thoroughly discredited economic theory.

“We have also seen a disappearing aid program, not only in dollar terms but in transparency as well. There is now almost no public information on projects financed by Australian aid and their outcomes. Just one in five freedom of information requests are granted in full and a quarter are outright refused.

“The reality of the ‘economic diplomacy’ approach is that aid money is being used to benefit Australian companies by opening up markets. This has nothing to do with poverty reduction and everything to do with discredited neoliberal fantasies of the Liberal/National coalition.

“We need a new aid agenda founded on global justice and climate justice to address the pressing problems of growing inequality and climate change. Aid is for partnership, not for market ideology, and for real development, not for narrow Australian interests and profits” he concluded.

AID/WATCH is an independent membership-based watchdog on aid, trade and debt, working with communities in the Global South. AID/WATCH challenge practices which undermine the ability of communities to determine their own futures, and promotes development alternatives based on social and environmental justice.

The report card can be viewed here

MEDIA CONTACT: James Goodman 0420 371 537

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