Catholics In Coalition for Justice and Peace

Australia's International Aid

Agencies hit foreign aid cuts

The Australian 19th January 2014: The federal government's foreign aid cuts are wider than outlined in its latest budget announcement, agencies say.

But the government says the aid budget is significant and Australians will be proud of it. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop yesterday announced the government would earmark $5.042 billion in foreign aid expenditure for the 2013-14 financial year, focusing on the Indo-Pacific region.

She said while that was down $107 million from last year's budget, the cuts were necessary because the growth of the previous year's aid budget was "unsustainable" amid an overall budget deficit forecast for this year. Ms Bishop said Australia needed to move away from a "hand out culture" and ensure its aid program funding was responsible and affordable. "In this way we have an aid budget that the Australian people will be proud of."

However, the peak body for Australian aid and humanitarian non-government organisations, ACFID, said the actual cuts amounted to $625 million. Click here to read full article

Government's $650m foreign aid cuts slammed

SMH 18th January 2014: The federal government will slash Australia's contribution to global initiatives to tackle climate change, health and sanitation crises in developing countries as part of its $650 million cuts to foreign aid.

The cuts, announced on Saturday, will strip almost $250 million in funding from the Asia-Pacific region and south Asia, despite Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's assurances that Australia will renew its foreign aid focus on the region.

Plan International said the timing of the cuts was almost as damaging as the cuts themselves, given the 2013-14 financial year is already more than 10 months underway.

"This is a mid-stream cut," Plan International chief executive Ian Wishart said. "We are deep into the financial year and now some of these cuts will need to be yanked out of important programs that are already underway.”

The government will cut $61 million comes from the Pacific region, with only Nauru – which now hosts 942 asylum seekers on behalf of Australia – spared cuts. Click here to read full article

PM: Keep your promise on aid!

Updated 11-09-2013: The Coalition Government is cutting Australia’s aid budget by a shocking $4.5 billion – this will mean many more lives stolen by conflict and poverty. Your action is urgent! Call on Prime Minister Abbott to keep his promises on aid and invest in peace-building projects that break the cycle of conflict and poverty. Read More

Sign the Act for Peace petition today!


Also, Budget Smuggler !

36 hours before the election, Tony Abbott smuggled a savage cut to foreign aid into his budget, totalling $4.5 billion over four years. How many lives will it affect? Click to see 


Join the Movement to End Poverty. The Movement to End Poverty is a joint petition of the Make Poverty History and Micah Challenge coalitions for all Australians who believe we can end extreme poverty.

Caritas Australia disappointed over aid spending delay.

Budgetary nihilism: Deferring foreign aid signals a distorted moral vision

14/05/2013 - (by Matthew Anslow, ABC Religion and Ethics 14 May 2013) - Yesterday, Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced that Australia had, for the second year in a row, deferred its life-saving foreign aid commitments, this time until 2017-18. In addition, the Minister confirmed that Australia would once again divert $375 million of the aid budget to fund Australia's domestic asylum seeker program in 2013-14. This will continue to make Australia, an OECD member, one of the biggest recipients of its own foreign aid. Read more ....

Cuts to Australia's Overseas Aid Funding

16/04/2013 - View the impact of cuts and diversions to funding for  the Government's overseas development programs at the Development Policy Blog. The blog is run out of the Development Policy Centre housed in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University.

19/12/2012 - It was revealed last night on Channel 10 news that the Government is poised to divert at least $375 million from overseas development programs to cover the costs of supporting refugees and asylum seekers here in Australia. The primary purpose of Australia’s aid program is to help people overcome poverty. The diversion of funds in this way will not contribute to that aim. Instead it will strip money meant for the world’s poorest. It is unacceptable that a desire to balance a budget takes precedence over the rights and needs of desperate and suffering people.

Take Action:

CCJP has written a letter to Foreign Minister Bob Carr, asking him not to proceed with the reported decision. You can read our letter here Please write to the Minister yourself, using as much of our letter as you wish. The Minister's email address is:

Join the Movement to End Poverty. The Movement to End Poverty is a joint petition of the Make Poverty History and Micah Challenge coalitions for all Australians who believe we can end extreme poverty.

Update 9/05/2012 - The Government has broken its promise to increase international aid to 0.5% gross national income (GNI) by 2015.

The latest Budget shows that the Government has deferred this target by a year, meaning that $2.9 billion less will be spent on the world’s poorest over the next four years.

This move will cost hundreds of thousands of lives and curtail our fight against poverty.  The Micah Foundation predicts that up to 250,000 fewer lives will be saved through Australian aid than if the promise had been kept in full and on time.

The delay means that Australia will miss the key date for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. It also means that the major increases in our aid budget will take place in 2016-17, which is another electoral cycle for the Federal Parliament.

For 2012-13, aid spending will remains at 0.35% of Australia’s GNI, instead of 0.38% as planned as part of the scale-up to 0.5% in 2015.

Take action

Find out more: Read CCJP's Check Out on Our Millenium Goals Promise and the Budget

Write a letter to your Federal MP: The Micah Challenge is encouraging you to write to your Federal MP, to let him or her know that you expect both the Government and the Coalition to keep their election commitments of increasing aid spending to 0.5% GNI by 2015. Join the Micah Challenge's letter-writing campaign.


Other resources

ACFID -  Learn about efforts of the Australian Community is supporting Internationa Aid and read examples from your own Federal Electorate. 

Myths busted: the facts about Australian aid by the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)

ACFID's Federal Budget Analysis 2012-13 

CCJP's 2008 Check Out on MDGs and Aid