Our response to the government's devastating aid budget decision
18 December 2012
Yesterday the Australian Government announced its decision to redirect $375m of the aid budget to service its asylum seeker policy. We are appalled at the government's blatant disregard to helping children overseas. This is what our CEO, Ian Wishart had to say.
"It has become impossible to take the government's rhetoric on overseas aid seriously.
"The recent review of the aid program was meant to lead to long range and strategic use of aid dollars to help people overseas out of poverty. Instead the aid budget has become a honey pot for policy made up on the run.
"Those aid dollars were intended to immunise children, get children into school, and provide life saving clean water. Instead practical overseas programs have been scrapped to make way for asylum seeker processing in Australia and camps on Manus and Nauru.
"The government's policy is that aid programs must be good value for money yet this decision demonstrates they can quickly spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a program that has an astronomical cost per beneficiary. Clearly solving a domestic political problem overrides all other considerations.
"On the basis of the government's promise to scale up the aid program the Prime Minister was appointed as international champion for delivering the Millennium Development Goals. This decision hardly makes her look like one.
"It also follows hot on the heels of the May budget decision to cut $2.9b over four years from the aid budget. The government is guilty of repeatedly saying one thing on overseas aid and then doing something else altogether.
"The government needs to reverse this decision, help the children this aid was intended for, and avoid its reputation on overseas aid from slipping away altogether."
Want to take action?
Contact your local Labor MP to tell them you care about this and want the government to reverse this devastating decision.
Step 1: Go to the AEC site and enter your postcode to get the name and details of your local Federal MP.
Step 2: If the MP is a member of the Labor party, you can call or email them (and include your contact details)
Step 3: If the MP is not a member of the Labor party, you can contact one of the Government's Senators in your state.