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ACFID Analysis of the 2016-17 Federal Budget

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ACFID Budget Analysis 2016-17: Cuts Disappointing, Transparency Welcome

While the Federal Budget’s fourth successive cut to Australian aid is disappointing, in its aid Budget Analysis 2016-17 published today the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) has welcomed the Government increasing the program’s overall transparency.

ACFID CEO Marc Purcell has congratulated the Government’s decision to release the Orange Book—Australian Aid Budget Summary 2016-17.

“This helpful document, along with other recent aid information provided online, should be used by the Government to actively communicate more to the public about the aid program’s value and achievements.”

“ACFID encourages the Government to continue to increase the public information it provides, including details about specific aid programs, forward estimates of the total volume of aid and sectoral projections. This would provide predictability for Australian aid recipients and non-government aid partners,” Mr Purcell said.

Mr Purcell welcomed a $220 million allocation over three years to Syria and a $10 million increase to the humanitarian Emergency Fund ($130 million total).

“The increase to Australia’s ability to respond to emergencies is welcome, but it falls short of what’s needed given the rising frequency and scale of disasters and conflicts around the world. ACFID has called for a doubling of humanitarian aid to $240 million to ensure Australia contributes its fair share to helping people during emergencies,” he said.

“It’s good to see that the budget provides small increases in funding for Fiji and Nepal – countries still recovering from disasters. Also welcome is funding to help meet the Government’s gender equality commitments, and the maintenance of funding for non-government aid partners and the volunteer program,” Mr Purcell said.

As ACFID’s Budget Analysis 2016-17 shows, the budget reduced funding for Australian aid by $224 million to $3.828 billion.

This means Australia’s aid generosity is now 0.23% of Gross National Income (GNI) or 23 cents in every $100.

“ACFID is concerned that with no real growth across the budget’s forward estimates there’ll be no new funding for poverty alleviation at the country level for many years, and Australia may struggle to fully meet its international commitments,” Mr Purcell said.

“As the federal election nears, ACFID is calling on all parties to reverse the cuts and begin rebuilding the Australian aid program to $5.5 billion in the next term of Parliament. This would set Australia on a trajectory to reach 0.7% of GNI by 2030 in line with its pledge to help attain the Sustainable Development Goals.”

See the ACFID Budget Analysis 2016-17 here.