Australian gov't commits to raise foreign aid

21:49, August 02, 2010      

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Australian federal government on Monday committed to increase Australia's foreign aid beyond the next five years to well above its current contributions.

Aid organizations on Monday called on political parties to announce a timetable for growing the Australian aid budget to 0.7 percent of gross national income (GNI).

In the last budget, the government increased foreign aid from 3. 8 billion dollars (34.6 billion U.S. dollars) to 4.3 billion dollars (3.9 billion U.S. dollars) for 2010/11.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said on Monday the government was still committed to increasing that figure to between 8 billion dollars (7.3 billion U.S. dollars) and 9 billion dollars (8.2 billion U.S. dollars), or 0.5 percent of GNI, by 2015-16.

Smith said beyond that, Labor Party would progressively increase Australia's foreign aid to 0.7 percent of GNI if economic and fiscal conditions permitted.

The Australian Council for International Development executive director Marc Purcell said the country could afford to give 70 cents (64 U.S. cents) of aid for every 100 dollars (91 U.S. dollars) of national income.

"Providing assistance contributes to greater peace and security in our region and helps to reduce the displacement of people," he said in a statement on Monday.

The opposition on Monday has also vowed to continue to match the government's pledges but will examine any "waste and mismanagement" in the foreign aid budget before increasing funding.

Source: Xinhua


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