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Greens announce aid policy

Today Greens spokesperson for overseas aid Senator Lee Rhiannon announced the Australian Greens aid and development platform

The Greens plan to increase the Australian aid budget to 0.7% of GNI. The Parliamentary Budget Office has costed this at $7.97 billion over the forward estimates. The Greens will introduce a bill to achieve this in the parliament as soon as it resumes. 

The United Nations has declared that developed nations should devote at least 0.7% of GNI to overseas aid in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The Greens aid and development plan also includes establishing an independent office to oversee aid delivery and effectiveness. 

“Our overseas aid commitment is at 0.23 per cent of our GNI, the lowest it has ever been since funding records began over 50 years ago. 

“The recent $224 million cut from the aid budget was just the latest blow. Under the Turnbull-Abbott government a total of $11 billion has been ripped from the aid budget. 

“We are one of the world’s wealthiest nations and we can afford to make an aid commitment of at least 0.7% of GNI. This would cost $7.97 billion over the forward estimates.

"We are committed to increasing the aid budget and ensuring this money is spent on the needs of communities in low income countries in order to reduce poverty and supply urgently needed heath, education and water sanitation programs. 

“Successive Coalition and Labor governments have chosen to strip our aid budget to the bone. 

“Our overseas aid budget has become so entangled with the military, economic and political objectives of the government in power that we have lost sight of the reason we have an aid programme in the first instance.

“The Greens stand for aid programs which are transparent, effective and intended to help disadvantaged communities in low income countries. Our aid platform is about accountability and properly targeted aid as much as it is about increasing dollar amounts.

“According to this year’s Global Campaign for Aid Transparency report, Australia scored less than 50% on the transparency index. 

“Under Labor hundreds of millions of dollars were put towards their offshore detention regime and labelled as ‘aid’. There are many outstanding questions about how PNG’s 2015-16 Overseas Development Aid budget, worth $477 million, has been spent. 

 “In the Pacific Australia uses its aid program to promote Australian corporate interests particularly in the area of mining and real estate. The PACER-Plus trade deal, which the Australian government is currently negotiating, would be no different. 

“The PACER Plus negotiations are deeply worrying for the Pacific and we will be calling upon the next federal government to withdraw from negotiations until proper environmental, economic and human rights assessments have taken place. 

“The Greens International Aid (Promoting Gender Equality) Bill introduced into the parliament last year will again be introduced. If passed this bill would help to recalibrate our aid program to meet the needs of women and girls in low income countries,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

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