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Bishop's corporatised aid plan set to damage communities

The Government's new plan for overseas aid to be delivered by private companies will see these companies profit while at the same time lives are lostAid for trade, and massive spending on large scale infrastructure projects, represents a far reaching realignment of our aid program towards Australia's interests over that of aid recipient countries and communities. Most of the nations that receive our aid do not have a strong private sector. It will be foreign multinationals or Australian companies that will pick up the infrastructure contracts. This will also open the door to corrupt practices. I recently read an article in the Guardian that revealed that milllions of pounds in British foreign aid money has been spent on building luxury hotels, shopping centres and gated communities. This will not help impoverished communities and it, in fact, exacerbates inequality in poor countries.

This corporatisation of Australia's foreign aid, in conjunction with last month's $7.6 billion budget cut in the aid program, sends a damaging message to neighbouring countries. NGOs and Australians working in the public sector have developed an excellent understanding of effecitive aid delivery. They have worked closely with poor communities for many years. Our aid money has saved lives and provided good health and opportunities for millions of people in low income countries. All this is now at risk because the Coalition sees the world in terms of business opportunities.

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