Academic calls for increase in the Australian Aid budget

Australian academic and ethicist Peter Singer has said that the Australian government should be increasing, not cutting, the aid budget.

In his keynote address at the Progress 2015 Conference in Melbourne, Singer has pointed out that the UN recommends the giving of 70 cents of aid for every $100 earned per capita, while Australia gives only 23 cents.

“The cuts we’ve had and the proposed cuts would take Australia’s aid to its lowest level on a per capita level, its lowest level for 40 years…”

“We are not only nowhere near it, but going backwards…are we just stingier?” Singer said.

Aid and Development agency Oxfam Australia has said that the looming cuts to aid in the Federal Budget pose a risk to the ability of aid agencies to prepare for and respond to disasters.

“Sustainable, predictable funding to NGOs makes us more capable of quick response, particularly if we have long-term development and disaster preparedness programs already in the country – we can then be much more efficient in delivering immediate assistance,” Oxfam Australia CEO Dr Helen Szoke said.

“It will be difficult for aid agencies like ours to prepare communities for natural disasters and to respond to them when they happen if the $1 billion in aid cuts is not reversed.

“In Vanuatu when Cyclone Pam hit, we were already on the ground working with communities and the government to prepare for and coordinate our immediate response.”

You can read more about Australia’s Aid program on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website