Lobby calls Australia's aid budget a 'drop in the bucket'

The Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin) has said that Australia's status as the driest inhabited land on earth puts it in a good position to work with the world's poorest people in accessing clean, safe water.

"In the past few years, drought has bought water shortages to the fore of the Australian consciousness," said PolMin coordinator Regina Lane. "Thankfully, we are beginning to understand the preciousness of this scare resource, and implement policies and programs to conserve water."

"However, few realise that 1.1 billion people across the globe lack access to clean, safe water and that as a result, 10,000 people die each day from avoidable water related diseases," she said. "The Australian people are well placed to stand in solidarity with people in the developing world, and work with them to find sustainable development solutions".

Ms Lane pointed out that only 18% of Australia's aid budget is devoted to essential social services, such as health, education and water.

"The Australian Government's rhetoric about prioritizing water in our aid budget has amounted to very little in dollar terms," she said. "If Australia is to do its fair share to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, it must dramatically increase funding for water and sanitation programs."

"In fact, in dollar terms, our overall aid budget sits poorly among developed countries. Whilst this year's aid increase to 0.28% of our Gross National Income is welcome, it simply does not go anywhere near far enough to meet our international obligations, of 0.7% of GNI. Australia must adhere to the call to Make Poverty History and increase its aid to 0.5% as a good first step".

Meanwhile Ms Lane will be speaking at the official launch of PolMin's new Melbourne base at 6:00 pm this evening at PolMin's office in the Christian Brothers' Treacy Centre at 126 The Avenue, Parkville.

Australian Political Ministry Network Ltd (PolMin) is a national not for profit organisation committed to bringing about systemic change in Australian society through the influencing of public policy for the common good in accordance with the principles of Catholic social teaching.

Australia's aid budget a drop in the bucket (Australian Political Ministry Network 5/7/05)

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Australian Political Ministry Network

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7 Jul 2005