Commenting on the release of the Government’s new ‘Partnerships for Recovery’ strategy, Marc Purcell, CEO of the Australian Council for International Development said:
“We welcome the Government’s leadership and strategic clarity on how it will use Australia’s development cooperation program and whole-of-government resources to tackle COVID-19 and protect vulnerable people.
“This is a once-in-a century threat to health and livelihoods. The Government’s ambition to become the Indo-Pacific ‘partner of choice’ in this crisis is the right one.
“Domestically, the Government has rightfully pulled out all the stops in responding to COVID-19. Our response into the region needs to be the same.
“As the Government concedes, the scale of the COVID-19 crisis will ‘dwarf the resources we have available’. To date, the Government has only drawn on the existing development cooperation budget and has repurposed existing programs in its response.
“In 2005, Prime Minister John Howard announced a new, additional $1bn humanitarian package for Indonesia after the devastating tsunami. To underpin this COVID-19 strategy, the Australian Government should allocate a new, one-off $2bn injection over four years at the next Federal Budget.
“It is very clear that Australians think we should share our expertise and increase our financial support to end COVID-19 beyond our shores.”
New YouGov polling – commissioned by the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) – and released today, shows that 72% of the public support the provision of expertise and increased financial support to the poorest nations to help tackle the pandemic.
“To end COVID-19 means ending it for everyone, everywhere. We do not want the virus to circle back around.
“From Pacific communities who want to see the return of holidaymakers to Australian food manufacturers suffering from supply-chain breakdowns, resumption of ties is essential.
“New investments in the development program would not only assist the most vulnerable but will help accelerate the safe resumption of tourism and trade and catalyse the regional and global recovery.”
ACFID has welcomed the Australian Government’s focus on protecting the vulnerable, the need to address climate change, inclusive growth and addressing the specific needs of women and girls, as part of the new strategy.
ACFID looks forward to further engagement with Australian Government on the implementation of the policy.