The nation has retained its a shameful position on an international scoreboard due to the decimation of the aid budget, in a move blatantly out of step with the generosity of Australians.
A new OECD report released today reveals Australia is languishing at 19th place out of 28 countries in the generosity stakes, well behind other prosperous nations like the UK, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada.
This is despite the fact Australians are repeatedly applauded for their charitable behaviour and desire to donate money, volunteer and help strangers.
World Vision Australia CEO Claire Rogers said the nation’s miserly approach to aid was at odds with the true Aussie spirit of giving, with spending slashed for a sixth consecutive year in the recent Federal Budget.
“I’m regularly heartened by the generosity I see demonstrated by every day Australians towards vulnerable children, men and women,” she said.
“Last year we were ranked second in the world out of 146 countries in the Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index. But the message we are sending with the dismantling of our aid budget is completely out of step with the kindness of its people. At a time when organisations like ours are responding to unprecedented numbers of children being displaced and multiple humanitarian crises, Australia is lagging behind nations like the UK and New Zealand on aid. We can’t simply tread water at a time when the global cry for help is deafening.”
The OECD 2018 figures again put Australia in the bottom of the pack in the company of countries like Greece, Portugal and the Czech Republic, with just 0.23% of our Gross National Income spent on aid. Australia claimed 19th spot for a second year in a row.
Sweden took the crown of most generous country by giving 1.04%, and the Slovak Republic brings up the rear with 0.13%.
With the 2019 Federal election announced today, Ms Rogers renewed calls for bipartisan support to rebuild the aid budget by 10 per cent each year to bring Australia’s contribution back in line with international standards.
“I believe the Australian public would be proud of a generous government, one that reflects the humanity of its people,” she said.
“Something is wrong when, despite forecasting a $7.1 billion surplus, and the fact that we have the world’s highest median wealth, Australia’s aid has sunk to its lowest ever level. Our unwillingness to shoulder our fair share of the humanitarian load means we are failing to save lives, to strengthen human rights and economies and contribute to a stable world.”
A TALE OF TWO SCOREBOARDS
OECD report: Top five most generous countries based on Official Development Assistance as a percentage of Gross National Income
1. Sweden – 1.04%
2. Luxembourg – 0.98%
3. Norway – 0.94%
4. Denmark – 0.72%
5. United Kingdom – 0.70%
Source: Official Development Assistance 2018 – Preliminary Data, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org
3. New Zealand
4. United States