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3 powerful reasons why Australia is beautiful

ONE

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It’s no secret that Australia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. But it’s not just the beaches, mountains and forests that make it shine, it’s the impact it has on tackling extreme poverty.

Next Tuesday, Australia’s government will announce its first Budget since coming to office last September. Cuts are expected in many different areas of spending, with Prime Minister Abbott and Treasurer Hockey putting out some tough messages ahead of the announcement.

But the Government has made one welcome and very important commitment: to hold the line on Australia’s AU$5 billion lifesaving aid budget, which saves lives, boosts economic development, and supports people to lift themselves out of poverty.

Here are three amazing reasons why the Australian government should make no further cuts to aid:

1) Australia’s aid programme does astonishing things for less than you might think

In just one year (2012-13) – at a cost to each citizen of just 60 cents a day – it:

  • Enrolled over a million boys and girls in school
  • Vaccinated 2.8 million children against life-threatening diseases
  • Reached 11.8 million people with vital support during conflicts and crises
  • Provided 2.3 million people with increased access to safe water and 1.9 million people with increased access to sanitation
  • Enabled 700,000 farmers to access new agricultural technologies, increasing their crop value by $131 million
  • Gave over half a million people access to loans to start their own small business

2) Smart aid investments in development work

Thanks in large part global aid:

  • Annual child deaths have plummeted by 3.1 million, as a result of investments in lifesaving tools such as vaccines, bed nets and nutrition programmes
  • 7.5 million sub-Saharan Africans are now on antiretrovirals (ARVs) to treat HIV/AIDS, up from just 50,000 in 2002
  • 54 million extra children went to school in sub-Saharan Africa between 1999 and 2011
  • Since 1990, the world has halved the proportion of people without access to clean water

3) We have halved extreme poverty in the last 20 years

And with sustained support from countries including Australia, we could see the virtual elimination of extreme poverty by 2030. Now is not the time to bow out of the race – now is the time to keep up the momentum.

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Australia’s generosity

Over the last decade, Australia has impressively stepped up its commitment in the fight against poverty, both in its own neighbourhood and further afield, including in the world’s poorest region, sub-Saharan Africa. Foreign Affairs Minister Bishop is right to emphasise that poverty is a problem for all of us:

Poverty is not just a tragedy in itself, in human terms it can undermine broader peace and stability, not only in a country and its region, but it can also undermine global security.

The Australian economy has experienced solid growth over the last decade, and the Australian people are some of the most generous in the world. In a poll, the Australian public, on average, wanted to spend 12% of the federal budget on aid (actual aid spending is less than 1.5%).

And as this year’s host of the G20, Australia has a key leadership role on the world stage. ONE, our Australian members, and our partners will be watching: will the government show true global leadership and stick to its commitment?

Australia’s achievements in reducing poverty and saving lives is beautiful. Let’s keep it that way.

Show your support by sharing our graphic on Facebook, and if you’re not already a ONE member, join nearly 4 million people around the world working together to end extreme poverty now.

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