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Burma aid cuts highlights Foreign Minister's portfolio failure

Greens overseas aid spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has accused the Abbott government of attempting to hide the impact caused by the latest $1 billion reduction in the overseas aid budget by failing to release details of the cuts.

"Foreign Minister Julie Bishop should publicly disclose what aid programs are being cut, when the cuts will occur and how the changes are being managed," Senator Rhiannon said.

"Burma is set to lose $54 million from its health budget because of Australian aid cuts. We only know that because the country's main aid organisation, Three Millennium Development Goal Fund, released details on its website.

"The Foreign Minister should have instructed DFAT to release these details about the Burmese health program and all programs set to receive less funding from Australia.

"The constant cutting of programs that has been a feature of the delivery of Australian aid under successive Labor and Coalition governments makes it very hard for those in the field.

"Predictability is critical otherwise it is hard to run successful programs.

"With so many cuts occurring the effectiveness of current programs will be compromised.

"As the Liberal-National government have decided to make these cuts at least they should be transparent about their plans so those running the programs can make what adjustments are possible.

"Since the Abbott government came to office in September 2013 $11 billion has been cut from the aid budget.

"These cuts could cost lives. The Burmese health program that the government has cut funding for has programs for child and maternal health, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

"The Greens continue to advocate for an increase in Australia's aid program and for our aid money to stop propping up the private sector," Senator Rhiannon said.

Contact - Brami Jegan 0487 350 880

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