MEDIA RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

15 December 2014

 

SYDNEY: AID/WATCH, Australia’s independent watchdog on foreign aid and trade has today responded to further cuts to the foreign aid budget following the mid-year economic and financial outlook (MYEFO) of $3.7 billion over three years.

 

AID/WATCH Director, Thulsi Narayanasamy says, “These cuts are concerning and demonstrative of the priorities of a Government that bolsters the private sector at any cost”.

 

“Ultimately, it isn’t correct to suggest that the aid budget in its entirety is spent on the world’s poorest as this is ignoring the reality of programs falling under the aid budget. A significant amount of the foreign aid budget is spent on bolstering the private sector in developing countries, on damaging policies such as aid-for trade, and ultimately subsidising the corporate social responsibility of companies.”

 

“Any cuts to the foreign aid budget should be focussed on programs that don’t have poverty reduction as an aim. If aid-for-trade –projected to be one-fifth of the aid program was targeted for cuts –we would applaud this outcome.”

 

“Unless we address the harmful nature of some of the programs falling under foreign aid, we can’t confidently say we are committed to addressing poverty.”

 

“Beyond the aid budget are a myriad ways that Australia negatively impacts on our less fortunate neighbours – free trade agreements in the Pacific, risky investments through our export credit agency, and the lack of accountability of Australian companies abroad. We must ensure that a human rights perspective is taken on all foreign policy, not just the aid program”.

 

 

For media inquires, contact Thulsi Narayansamy 0405 801 943 thulsi@aidwatch.org.au

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