Cuts to Australia’s foreign aid budget as introduced last year are being maintained in the 2016 Budget. The latest reduction follows the biggest cut on record, with $1 billion slashed from the aid program 12 months ago.
Indonesia once again bears some of the brunt of the cuts, losing another 5% of funds, around $15 million, on top of a 40% cut last year. Two key nations involved in the government’s offshore refugee processing program, Papua New Guinea and Cambodia, emerged unscathed in the latest savings.
The government’s failure to restore the Australian aid budget is short-sighted and likely to damage Australia’s international reputation, aid agency CARE Australia has warned.
CARE Australia CEO Dr Julia Newton-Howes welcomed a modest increase to funding for humanitarian emergencies, but said the nation turned its back on the world’s poor.
“The Government’s refusal to reverse the final scheduled cut to the aid budget means Australia will become the least generous we’ve ever been with the lowest ratio of aid to the size of our economy ever,” she said. “Overall, the cuts will still be damaging to Australia’s international reputation and to our long-term interests, especially at a time when many other developed nations are increasing aid budgets.”