Australian aid review should prioritise the poorest

16/11/2010

Caritas Australia has applauded the Government’s moves to conduct an independent review of Australia’s aid and development program, and welcomed its commitment to further explore the role of non-government organisations (NGOs) in effective aid delivery.

Australia’s aid budget has doubled since 2005 - and is set to almost double again over the next five years. By 2015, 0.5 per cent of Australia’s Gross National Income will be dedicated to Overseas Development Assistance.

Caritas Australia hopes the independent review announced today will deepen public awareness and understanding of Australia’s aid commitments, and develop key targets and performance indicators for the sector to ensure greater transparency and accountability across AusAID’s $9 billion budget.

Caritas Australia’s CEO Jack de Groot said today’s announcement leads the way for a stronger and significantly more effective Australian aid program.

“We’re eager to support the review process in the coming months and look forward to working with the Government to move the structure and delivery of Australian aid into the ranks of best practice," Mr de Groot said.

“Whilst the review will certainly move AusAID towards a more accountable and robust framework for managing Australia’s growing aid budget, we are concerned its scope provides few opportunities for the panel to fully reflect on the changing and pressing needs of the poor."

Mr de Groot said that in order for AusAID to fulfil its mandate of creating genuine development opportunities for the poor, the review of Australia's aid priorities must incorporate the voices of the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised communities.

“Over the coming five months, we are eager to engage with the review process to ensure our learnings and insights - from almost 50 years working through local communities with the poorest of the poor - inform the future of AusAID’s strategic priorities,” Mr de Groot said.

“The review is an opportunity for the Government to engage in debate and consultation with the Church, faith-based agencies and other development NGOs.

“Only through engagement with grassroots NGOs like Caritas Australia can the review fully reflect Australia’s capacity and potential to deliver life-giving aid.
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