Cuts to Foreign Aid: what it means for Australians Posted May 15, 2015 by Diaspora Action Australia

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Kot Monoah, Chairperson of the South Sudanese Community Association of Victoria

“The Australian Government and its people have often been humane and quick to lend a helping hand” – Kot Monoah, Chairperson of the South Sudanese Community Association of Victoria

Aid organisations and many concerned Australians are measuring the impact of the $1billion cut to foreign aid announced in the Federal Government’s Budget this week.

Aid to Afghanistan and many East Asia countries, such as Sri Lanka and the Philippines, has been reduced by 40 percent, but the largest cut has been to the African aid program, which has been cut by 70 percent.

There are many compassionate Australians who are disappointed about these cuts, but perhaps none feel it more acutely than the people who make up Australia’s diaspora communities. For them, the cuts are not an exercise in economic management; they have personal insight into the effects that will be felt by families and friends in their former homelands.

There are a quarter of a million African-born Australians in this country, and many are wondering how a 70 per cent cut is going to affect humanitarian and development programs in Africa, which is home to 18 of the poorest countries in the world.

Mr Kot Monoah, the Chairperson of the South Sudanese Community Association of Victoria, says the association is disappointed about the foreign aid cuts.

“The Australian Government and its people have often been humane and quick to lend a helping hand and therefore continuing such a kind gesture should be the aim rather than cutting aid.

“We expect Australia to at least play a role as a global leader in showing global social responsibility to the affected foreign countries. Cutting aid does nothing other than increase the suffering of millions around the globe who rely on foreign aid to make a living, to meet their need for health care, for maternal and child health services, or to get access to clean drinking water.

“We request that the Government in the short term review this foreign aid cut and rethink resumption of this crucial aid to many disadvantaged and marginalised individuals who are suffering due to no fault of their own.”

A detailed analysis of the cuts by the Australian Council for International Aid can be found here.

Denise Cauchi

Director