Caritas slams Australia's shameful international aid contribution
Australia is in danger of becoming an international embarrassment on aid and remains the only major developed country not to significantly commit aid to meet the United Nation's blueprint for halving world poverty, says Caritas Australia Director Jack de Groot.
Mr De Groot, speaking also as chairman of the Make Poverty History coalition of more than 70 aid and community organisations, said Australia plays a significant role in the South East Asia region in almost every area except in funding the fight against poverty where it now lags behind other nations badly.
"Instead of being a leader in helping the poor in South East Asia we are struggling to avoid being awarded the wooden spoon for our pitiful approach to aid," Mr de Groot said.
The Australian government is lagging 16 out of 22 OECD donor countries in terms of its level of overseas aid. And our ranking is expected to plunge further to 19 out of 22 when new pledges from other nations are considered.
Australia and New Zealand remain the only wealthy OECD countries not to have made a commitment to significantly increase aid to meet the Millennium Development Goals to halve poverty by 2015.
"Australia now stands as the 'odd man out' in failing to deliver a blueprint for substantially increasing overseas aid to 0.5% by 2010, in line with reaching the UN target of 0.7% by 2015," Mr de Groot said.
"It is bitterly disappointing that after showing great leadership in responding to the victims of the tsunami, the Australian government has failed to follow the lead of other developed countries and commit extra funding in line with the Millennium Development Goals."
Mr de Groot said next month world leaders would meet in New York to assess the progress of the fight against poverty providing an opportunity for the government to act.
His comments come as the Make Poverty History coalition yesterday released a detailed blueprint of the steps Australia can take to help halve poverty by 2015.
Make Poverty History - Australia's pitiful record on aid (Caritas Australia 30/8/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Goal 8 Review Australia
Make Poverty History Australia | International
Make Poverty History: The Story So Far (CAFOD)
Australia isolated as rich countries commit to poverty campaign (CathNews 19/7/05)
CAFOD calls for poverty to remain top of the UN Summit agenda (Independent Catholic News 30/8/05)
31 Aug 2005