Australian Greens International Aid and Development spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has responded to revelations that the Morrison government will cease all bilateral aid to Pakistan as funds for development assistance are diverted to the Pacific. Nepal will also have its budget almost halved.
Senator Faruqi said:
“Raiding the aid budget of one country so Australia can further its national interest in the Pacific is a shameless pursuit of self interest by Australia.
“The reality is that we could be providing sufficient overseas development assistance to both South Asia and the Pacific if the Coalition hadn’t cut the aid budget consistently since they came to power.
“Australia is already in an embarrassing position globally, with our aid budget well behind the OECD average. Australia can and should be a global leader in foreign aid.
“Pakistan is already bearing a huge burden of the climate emergency, with rising sea levels and increasing extreme weather events like floods and storms. Coal is the biggest contributor to climate breakdown and Australia is the biggest exporter of coal. We have a special obligation to assist countries with climate change mitigation and adaptation.
“The brutal impact of aid budget cuts to vital programs in Pakistan and South Asia will be borne by the people most in need – women and children. This is unacceptable. The Australian Government must reverse cuts and reinstate aid programs.” she concluded.