With the number of displaced people in the world right now at its highest ever, the need for compassion and aid from countries which can afford it is at its peak. There is a growing global need to build empathy, not barriers, understanding, not ignorance, of the plight of millions currently living in poverty.
Yet we see the United States trying to impose dramatic restrictions on entry into their country, England breaking away from the European Union, and Australia’s strained relationship with refugees all continue to indicate a lack of empathy and concern for our neighbours.
Sadly, this year’s federal budget reflects that apathy. Whilst at first glance the results appear positive with this year’s aid budget being increased by 2 per cent ($84 million), by 2020-21 the projected growth will, in fact, be cut.
This is despite massive increases in funding for defence and security – suggesting yet again that we tend to view people from other countries with hostility rather than compassion.
CARE Australia’s Chief Executive Sally Moyle called the diversion of funds from the aid program to security agencies inhumane, “It will be the world’s poor who suffer as a result of these cuts.
“The government should not be syphoning funds away from international development in the name of national security.”
She added this next round of effective reductions to our aid program makes a terrible statement about who we are as Australians, and that this budget falls well short of our responsibilities at a time of growing global need.
“Now is not the time to be forgetting the millions facing starvation in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria, or turning away from those reeling from the war in Syria.”
CARE Australia denounces the next instalment of projected cuts to the aid program. But we also have faith that our supporters, and millions of Australians, are compassionate people who do not share the government’s short-sightedness, and together we can work to overcome such injustices.
Of our 20 closest neighbours, 18 are developing countries, so aid is in our national interest. It helps create an open, secure and peaceful region. To all our supporters who share our vision, we thank you for your ongoing contributions to help fight poverty. Your efforts are bringing lasting change to those who need it most.