Foreign aid a budget casualty

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Bill Frilay

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ausaid floods_optThe Coalition Government has made, or is making, major changes to our foreign aid policy. The changes occurring or proposed include:

□  Reduction in the Aid budget
□  Incorporation of the aid function with the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT)
□  Seeking to increase efficiencies – a process of benchmarks to attain this
□  Aid for trade
□  An increased regional focus

The one that really matters in all this is the reduction in the budget, but let’s look at all these points.

Prior to the election, the Coalition announced a reduction in the Aid budget. They said that, while they remain committed to the 0.5% of GNI target, it was not possible to commit to a date, and that growth in Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) would be restricted to increases in the CPI over the forward estimates. This amounted to a reduction of $4.5 billion in aid in the forward estimates.

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