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Aid cuts fail Julie Bishop's gender rhetoric - gender target missed

The Australian Greens say a new departmental report on aid has criticised the Abbott government for missing its aid target.

Greens spokesperson for International Aid and Development Senator Lee Rhiannon said: "Performance of Australian Aid 2013-14, released yesterday, reveals the government has missed its 80% target for satisfactory ratings in gender equality.

"This report reveals that the claim of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that gender equality is a priority for Australian aid is just empty words.

"The Liberal/National government has all but turned its back on the world's most vulnerable people.

"You cannot rip $11 billion funding out of the aid budget, cut programs, and expect the gender equality outcomes to improve.

"Ms Bishop may continue to say that Australia's aid program is performing efficiently and effectively, yet this report clearly shows that the government's international aid agenda is fundamentally flawed.

"The report raises questions over the government's measurement for gender performance, with the Office of Development Effectiveness finding that 22 per cent of investments overestimate their effectiveness in dealing with gender equality.

"Even with these inflated figures, the rating is at its lowest in four years, with only 74 per cent of investments meeting the minimal ‘satisfactory' requirement for gender equality.

 "As the cuts to the aid budget take hold, the government's move to consolidate the program with a focus on big infrastructure takes resources away from the smaller, community led development projects which are far more effective at addressing gender inequality.

"We have already seen 177 projects cut from the aid budget, with more to come to reach the government's target of a 20 per cent reduction by 2016-17.

"Ms. Bishop is failing in her role as the self-appointed saviour of women and children in poorer nations. As a first step, she should use her power in the Coalition to restore funding to the aid budget," said Senator Rhiannon.

Contact Brami Jegan 0487 350 880

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