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International Aid and Development

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Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio)

Senator RHIANNON: Mr Varghese, in what countries in Africa is Australia represented by honorary consuls?

Mr Varghese : Could I take that on notice? I do not have that information with me, and I do not think there is anyone in the room who would have it.

Senator RHIANNON: If you do have honorary consuls, could you indicate what their occupations are in the countries that they represent and whether they have any links with mining companies.

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Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (Export Finance and Insurance Corporation)

Senator RHIANNON: Are you monitoring the current developments with the Export-Import Bank of the United States?

Mr Hunter : We are aware of some press and some of the developments there.

Senator RHIANNON: Have you considered the implications for export finance if the US Congress fails to vote to extend the charter of the Export-Import Bank? What do you see those implications as being?

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Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

Senator RHIANNON: Mr Varghese, I was hoping you would have this information because it would inform our deliberations today-if not, could you take it on notice. Could you provide the committee with a departmental breakdown-a table-of budget estimates for 2014-15 and 2015-16 for ODA eligible expenditure by all government departments?

Mr Varghese : That is probably already covered in what we have either on our website or in the budget document. But the chief financial officer may be able to add.

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Australia’s commitment to alleviating poverty – trashed

Greens spokesperson for international aid Senator Lee Rhiannon has said the Abbott government has trashed our overseas aid program with cuts totalling $11 billion since they came into office, with the bulk of the remaining aid budget directed away from programs targeting poverty alleviation.

"It is shameful that the primary purpose of aid programs under the Liberal/National government must be for Australia's national interest and not poverty reduction," Senator Rhiannon said.

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Coalition aid cuts are hurting world’s most vulnerable

Australian Greens spokesperson for international aid and development Senator Lee Rhiannon says the Coalition's $11 billion cut to overseas aid is adversely impacting aid agencies.

"With 177 projects already cut from the aid budget, Australian overseas aid charities are rightfully anxious about the future of their work.

"Aid agencies such as ActionAid, World Vision, Plan Australia and Care Australia are being forced to withdraw or scale back many of their overseas assistance and development programs ahead of next month's budget.

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Ebola report shows that aid funding must be restored

Commenting on the release of a landmark Médecins Sans Frontières report on the response to the Ebola epidemic, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

“This report shows us how inadequate the response to the Ebola crisis was.

“One year on from the outbreak of the Ebola crisis, it’s clear that we do not just need our aid budget ‘saved’ from further cuts – we need it restored.

“From the beginning, the Greens called on Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop to assist the growing international response by sending a large scale on-ground team to West Africa.

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Greens Bill to push Bishop on gender equality in aid projects

The Greens will today introduce into Parliament a Bill that includes gender equality assessments with our overseas aid by linking reporting requirements for all programs with their impact on women and girls in low income countries.

“Foreign Minister Julie Bishop claims that gender equality is one of the key tenets of her approach to aid, yet she has presided over the biggest cuts to the aid budget. Minister Bishop has cut $11.7 billion in just 18 months of being in office,” said Greens spokesperson for International Aid and Development Senator Lee Rhiannon.

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Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (Export Finance and Insurance Corporation)

CHAIR: We will now move on to the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation.

Senator RHIANNON: Mr Hunter, in your letter to the Canberra Times on the ninth of this month you stated:

EFIC's independent directors have additional directorships within the finance community.
I am actually really tight for time; the chair is on my tail. So, if that is not a short answer, can you take this on notice? Can you state what those additional directorships are for your independent directors?

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