The following is a blog from Michael Sheldrick ONE member and Policy Manager, Global Poverty Project.
I have great news, but some alarming news too. Smart aid from Australia is saving and transforming lives. We’ve reduced malaria rates in the Solomon Islands by more than half, enabled thousands of girls to go to school, saved countless lives and lifted millions of people out of extreme poverty. But right now this amazing progress is under threat as our Government is considering breaking its promise to the world’s poorest people.
To build on remarkable progress smart aid has achieved, the Labor Party promised at the last two elections to double international aid to 0.5% of Gross National Income by 2015. Or to put another way for it to reach just 50 cents in every $100 of Australia’s national income.
By keeping its promise to increase aid in this year’s budget, the Government will allow Australia to save the lives of an extra 500,000 people each year, vaccinate 7.7 million children against deadly diseases over the next 5 years, and help break the cycle of hunger and malnutrition in the world’s poorest communities. Please help ensure these vital goals are not derailed.
The Treasurer is faced with some tough choices as the Government tries to bring the budget into surplus. But Australia can afford to keep its promises to the world’s poorest. Although we were ranked as the second wealthiest country in the world in a report last year, our commitments put us in the bottom half of the wealthy nations that give aid. Others have kept their aid promises despite facing tougher economic conditions.
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