#1016 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 4 Jan 2015
Federal treasurer Joe Hockey announced last month that Australia’s aid budget would be slashed by $1 billion, signalling the end of our aspiration to end extreme poverty. As Baptist minister Scott Higgins observes:
Inspired by the Millennium Development Goals, first the Howard government then the Rudd government started to increase both the volume of aid Australia offered to the world’s poorest countries and the quality of the aid…
In 2007 … Kevin Rudd announced the ALP would lift aid to 0.5% of national income by the year 2015. The Coalition embraced the same goal and we embarked on an era of bipartisan commitment to substantial increases in [aid funding].
In the last couple of years this was weakened by date blow-outs, and Mr Hockey has now ensured that Australia’s aid program as a proportion of national income will soon fall to 0.21%, the lowest level in more than 50 years, and there it will stay unless the people decide otherwise.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.