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Prime Minister appointed to global aid group: Time to reverse budget cut to aid

The Prime Minister’s appointment by Ban Ki-Moon to co-chair a global leadership group on achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 should prompt an immediate reversal of her Government’s decision to delay meeting Australia’s commitment, the Australian Greens said today.

“I congratulate Prime Minister Gillard on her appointment to this global leadership group but note that, in order for her to play a constructive role, she must urgently reverse her decision to delay meeting Australia’s own commitment to the Millennium Development Goals,” said Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne.

“It would not be credible for the Prime Minister to co-chair a group urging other countries to speed up their commitment of overseas development aid when she isn’t doing so herself.

“It is my hope that the Prime Minister will be influenced by other members of the group, such as Jeffrey Sachs, Ted Turner and Bob Geldof, to lift her sights to the full MDG commitment of 0.7% rather than delaying achievement of 0.5%.”

Senator Lee Rhiannon, Greens spokesperson for Foreign Aid foreshadowed moving a Senate motion next week to call for renewing the government’s commitment to increase the aid budget as required to meet UN goals to relieve poverty.

“Australia is dragging the chain on lifting its overseas aid budget. More than 40 years ago, in 1970 the UN endorsed a target to allocate 0.7 per cent of GNI to foreign aid. This was endorsed by former Prime Minister Howard when he signed on to the Millennium Development Goals.

“The United Nations draft wrap up statement on Rio+20 links the 0.7 per cent target to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

“This is now an issue of integrity. If Prime Minister Gillard is going to be co-chair of such an event she needs to honour the development objective in her own country and that means boosting our foreign aid budget,” Senator Rhiannon said.

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