The Commonwealth Government is strongly committed to our overseas aid program.
Australia’s ODA (Official Development Assistance) has received a boost in the 2013-14 Budget to reach a record $5.7 billion; an increase of around $500 million – or 9.6 per cent. It brings the aid budget to 0.37 per cent of gross national income (GNI).
This is the highest aid budget as a percentage of GNI in over 25 years and, in dollar terms, Australia’s largest aid budget in history.
We’ve done this at a time when aid among OECD countries has fallen by 4 per cent in real terms (over 2012). Australia remains committed to increasing its aid budget to 0.5 per cent of GNI. Given substantial write-downs to Budget revenues the Government will however defer this target by one year, to 2017-18. We have seen great progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in our region, and Australia remains committed to supporting these goals.
That’s why, over the next four years, we will:
• Target malnutrition among women and children in the Asia-Pacific, providing over one million people with better access to food and improved nutrition;
• Lift universal education by supporting an additional 1.2 million children reach school; and
• Increase access to maternal and child health services for a further 900,000 women.
Compare this to the Liberals – their overseas aid budget never reached 0.3 per cent of Gross National Income, and was usually under 0.25 per cent.
Overseas aid has risen in every year of the Labor Government – in total, over $2 billion since 2007/08 – an increase of over 60 per cent.