Responding to last night’s announcement that a Labor Government would boost aid funding to Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), and focus on key areas including human rights, climate change, resilience and gender, Oxfam Australia Director of Public Engagement Pam Anders said:
“Oxfam welcomes Labor’s leadership and vision on Australian aid and human rights.
“The funding boost to key NGOs will ensure aid projects with community at their heart receive much-needed support.
“This will mean NGOs, supported by the Australian public and committed to high standards through accreditation and our sector Code of Conduct, will be better equipped to fund programs that lift people out of poverty and contribute to sustainable development.
“Oxfam calls on the Federal Government to match this commitment and to return to bipartisanship on overall aid funding ahead of this year’s election.
“It’s time for the Australian aid program, which has suffered multiple cuts over recent years and is now at the lowest level as a proportion of national income in our country’s history, to stop being a political football.
“We need predictable, increased funding for Australian aid to meet growing global challenges including increasing inequality and climate change, which is hitting the poorest first and hardest.
“Commitments to increase the focus of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on human rights, climate action, resilience and gender are also welcome.
“Recent ground-breaking research by Oxfam into Australian fashion supply chains revealed widespread human rights risks and abuses. Strengthening Australia’s National Contact Point on business and human rights, along with other measures, will help to shine a light on these issues – which are trapping people in poverty and stopping them from reaching their full potential.
“We know also that climate change presents the largest human security and environmental risk to our region. A greater focus on climate action and resilience, particularly in the Pacific, is a welcome move.
“In our work around the globe we see that it is women who often fare the worst from the impacts of economic inequality and hardship, unfair supply chains and laws, climate impacts and disasters, and when crisis strikes such as the need to care for sick relatives. It is great to see an increased focus on gender in the aid program “