Responding to a story published today in The Australian, ‘Asia aid slashed in shift to Pacific’, CEO of the Australian Council for International Development, Marc Purcell said:
“Drawing on a declining development cooperation budget to invest in the Pacific means cuts to Asia. This is a short-sighted approach to regional engagement and will have human and strategic repercussions.
“Last week, Indonesian President Joko Widodo proposed new areas of partnership on tackling poverty and inequality, bolstering freedoms and democracy and emissions reductions and environmental sustainability. The Australian Government should embrace this opportunity to strengthen the bonds of friendship.
“The new international development policy is an opportunity to correct our course and to respond to leaders like President Widodo with greater investment in long-term, sustained, development cooperation partnerships. We need to replicate this right across Asia and reverse the damaging reduction in Australia’s investment in the region.
“The Australian Government should reconsider its decision to delay indexation and use this Federal Budget to lift the development cooperation budget off its downward trajectory.”