As world leaders attend the UN summit to formally adapt the Sustainable Development Goals, aid groups are calling on the Australian Government to review cuts to Australia’s Aid and Development Budget.
Australia’s annual aid budget has been slashed from $5.6 billion in 2012-2013 to $4 billion with aid organisations concerned of the repercussions the decreased funding will have on their ability to effectively carry out global aid.
The decrease in the aid and development budget amounts to 0.22 per cent of the country’s gross national income, the lowest in history and falling short of the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of donor generosity for developed nations.
Aid groups are hopeful that the signing of new goals will lead to rethinking by the Australian Government on how much money the nation puts forward to funding aid.
Chief of Oxfam Australia admitted that they were cautiously optimistic of change; adding that the summit gave cause for Australia to show global leadership in supporting the implementation of the SDGs.
The newly appointed Australian Minister for International Development, Steve Ciobo, has revealed that he does not expect change from the government’s handling of aid and development under Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop.
The minister said that any changes to the budget were highly unlikely as the government focuses on debt repayment and boosting the country’s economy.
Ms Bishop is currently attending the UN summit on behalf of the Australian PM.