Caritas Australia urges Australians to help protect foreign aid

4 Dec 2014   |   Long-term Development

Caritas Australia, the international aid and development agency of the Australian Catholic Church, has expressed grave concerns at reports that Australia’s overseas aid program may face more budget cuts in the upcoming Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

The threat of further cuts comes just one year after one of the largest typhoons ever to hit landfall, and amid global challenges including; the escalation of the Middle East crisis and the latest Ebola outbreak.

It also follows previous aid cuts totaling nearly $8 billion since September 2013. Additional cuts would send Australia further down the list in OECD rankings in aid spending.

Australia’s overseas aid budget provided 20 percent of federal budget savings in the 2014 May budget. This was the single largest source of Commonwealth savings in the budget.

Caritas Australia’s CEO, Paul O’Callaghan is currently in Sri Lanka with a delegation from the international Caritas and catholic network, commemorating the devastating impact across Asian countries of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, which killed 230,000 people and left many millions displaced.

"At a time when we commemorate the Boxing Day tragedy, we also recall the tremendous support by Australian aid donors and the Australian government in the response,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

“Many leaders from the ten countries represented at this commemoration have expressed great disappointment that Australia would now scale back its international development role.”

“For over 50 years Australia has had a proud reputation as one of the leading partners in global efforts to lift millions out of poverty.” 

Mr O’Callaghan said it was surprising that the world’s tenth wealthiest nations would actively slide towards the bottom half of OECD donor countries, just after hosting the G20 and chairing the United Nations Security Council.

“Surely Australia is better than this. Millions of Australians quietly donate to Australia’s aid and development sector, and they expect our government to play their part in eradicating poverty.” 

In the midst of the government’s funding challenges, Caritas Australia urges that no further cuts be made in Australia’s aid program.

Caritas Australia’s Advocacy Manager, Negaya Chorley, urged all Australians to speak out against the potential cuts to foreign aid.

Caritas Australia has a petition to Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann available on their website and instructions on how to phone their offices:

Petition page

More about the Australian aid budget

Media contact: Nicole Clements, 0408 869 833 or

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