In a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s aid program, Professor Fethi Mansouri, UNESCO Chairholder for Cultural Diversity and Social Justice, has argued Australia is not pulling its weight in the global community.

The Parliamentary inquiry into the ‘strategic effectiveness and outcomes of Australia’s aid program in the Indo Pacific and its role in supporting our regional interests’ is an opportunity for review of the changes to Australia’s aid framework that were made in 2014. These changes direct 90 percent of Australia’s aid budget to the Indo-Pacific region and refocus the aid program on two outcomes: supporting private sector development, and strengthening human development.

However, Deakin University’s Professor Fethi Mansouri, Director of the Alfred Deakin Institute (ADI) argues that these changes obscure the unjustifiably large cuts to Australia’s aid budget at a time when the global community needs our assistance the most.

“Poverty, insecurity, illiteracy, disease, along with a growing number of refugees and internally displaced people are some of the global concerns that have pushed many states to proactively share the responsibility to help those in need. Despite its growing gross national income, Australia paradoxically has reduced its foreign aid budget once again,” Professor Mansouri said in his submission.

Professor Mansouri points to the long-standing United Nations target that recommends developed countries like Australia allocate 0.7 percent of their gross national income (GNI) to their aid programs. While only a handful of countries have met this target, with even fewer enshrining it into law, Australia has continued to slide further away in every Federal Budget since 2013.

In 2018-19, Australia’s aid budget will be $4.1 billion, which equates to 0.22 percent of GNI, or just 0.86 percent of the total Federal Budget for the year.

“Our aid program is incredibly effective and efficient, and our generosity has had a huge impact on increasing the quality of life for less fortunate people around the globe, but we can and should do more.”

“Research conducted with the Alfred Deakin Institute shows that rather than cutting aid programs, Australia should at least keep pace with OECD average allocations, if not gradually improve on that,” Professor Mansouri said. Read more at Invenio