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Quarantine foreign aid budget from razor gang cuts: Greens

Greens NSW Senator and overseas aid spokesperson Lee Rhiannon today called on the federal government to rule out any watering down of the Labor government's clear commitment to increase the aid budget.

"If the federal government drops the ball on its commitment to increase foreign aid it will be a setback for poverty alleviation programs and will go down as another Labor broken promise," Senator Rhiannon said.

"Cutting the aid program is small-minded and mean and would further damage Labor's public standing.

"Last November Labor and the Coalition parties in the Senate backed a Greens motion that reaffirmed a bipartisan commitment to increase the aid budget to at least 0.5 per cent of gross national income by 2015.

"Any reduction in aid funding would undermine the Australian government's ability to contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. These are targets agreed to by the world's nations to reduce poverty by 2015.

"Holding the government to its promise will be an important test of the influence and ability of Foreign Minister Bob Carr.

"Today the Foreign Minister should be the leading voice defending the Australian aid budget from cuts" Senator Rhiannon said. 

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