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Greens welcome aid groups’ election plan

Welcoming the “Improve Australia’s Aid” plan issued today, Greens overseas aid spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon called on Labor and the Coalition to use this blue print to refocus Australian aid on the key purpose of overcoming poverty. 

“Australia’s peak aid group, ACFID, have produced a timely set of proposals on the purpose of aid, funding levels and accountability that should receive cross party support,” Senator Rhiannon said.

“With large amounts of the aid budget being diverted to domestic policies, including managing asylum seeker programs, the issue of Australia’s overseas aid warrants detailed consideration by party leaders.

“Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and opposition leader Tony Abbott should use this election campaign to commit to achieving 0.7 per cent of gross national income going to assist the world’s poorest.

“Labor and the Coalition lack credibility on aid funding after much back tracking and cancellation of targets over the past year. Since 2012 they both ditched a bipartisan commitment to increase overseas aid to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2015.

“The Greens plan to legislate to increase aid spending and to stop the use of aid money to pay for processing asylum seekers.

“The Greens support ACFID’s call for Africa to continue to be part of the Australian government aid program.

“There is much excellent cooperative work that can be further developed. As the 2011 Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness received cross party support it is timely to implement the recommendations.

“The Greens welcome the call for investments in sexual and reproductive health services. Some aid programs in this area have been cut under previous Labor and Coalition governments so it is a timely reminder of the importance of this work.

“The proposal on the role of the Ambassador for Disability-Inclusive Development with AusAID should readily gain cross party support. The Greens have already back this initiative,” Senator Rhiannon said.

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