Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek, pictured in Parliament on Thursday, will announce a $30 million boost to local aid organisations. Photo: Andrew MearesA Labor government would give n aid organisations a boost of $30 million a year to make up for cuts by the Coalition but is staying tight-lipped on whether it will restore billions more cut from the broader aid budget.
Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek will announce on Friday that the spending promise “begins a process that will repair the n overseas aid budget following record cuts by the Liberals”.
Coming in the wake of the Coalition’s record-breaking $11.3 billion in total aid cuts, Labor’s pledge would lift funding to groups such as Oxfam , World Vision and the Fred Hollows Foundation.
“An additional $30 million a year will go to n NGOs working in developing countries to deliver critical projects like maternal and child health, schooling, better water and sanitation,” Ms Plibersek told Fairfax Media.
Such funding to local organisations currently totals about $130 million a year, or about 3 per cent of the total annual aid budget of $4 billion.
But it is regarded as highly effective, in part because the non-government organisations match each dollar of government funding. An August assessment by the Department of Foreign Affairs found that the NGO program “delivers strongly on results” and made up 18 per cent of the department’s total development results.
Under the Coalition, about $30 million has been withdrawn from n NGOs over the past three financial years compared with the funding level set by the previous Labor government.
But Labor is declining to say whether it will restore all the aid cuts made by the Coalition.
“Overseas aid funding more broadly will be considered in the lead up to the next election,” Ms Plibersek said.
“First we need to see if the Liberals plan to cut the aid budget further, so we can be clear about just how big the task of repair will be.”
By the 2016-17 financial year, aid as a proportion of gross national income will fall to 0.22 per cent, which is the least generous level since the aid program began and a fraction of the 0.7 per cent committed to by the former Howard government under the 2000 Millennium Development Goals.
It also means that , despite being the eighth largest economy in the OECD, will be the 19th most generous OECD donor.
Follow us on Twitter