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15    Foreign Affairs—Pacific Region—Development Assistance

Senator McEwen, also on behalf of Senator Moore, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 169—That the Senate—

    (a)   notes:

                  (i)   the importance of the Australian aid program to sustainable economic and social development and poverty alleviation for Pacific nations,

                 (ii)   the contribution of the Australian aid program to Australia’s national interests through support for regional stability, security and prosperity,

                (iii)   the verbal commitment by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to not cut Australian development assistance to Pacific nations, and

                (iv)   the announcement by the Minister on 18 January 2014 that $650 million will be cut from Australia’s development assistance in 2013-14, including $61.4 million to the following Pacific country and regional programs:

                          Papua New Guinea - $5.3 million,

                          Solomon Islands - $14.2 million,

                          Vanuatu - $6.2 million,

                          Samoa - $3.6 million,

                          Fiji - $2.8 million,

                          Tonga - $2.7 million,

                          Kiribati - $3 million,

                          Other small Pacific islands - $3.6 million, and

                          Pacific regional - $20 million;

    (b)   calls on the Minister to meet her commitment to not cut Australian development assistance to Pacific nations; and

     (c)   calls on the Government to reverse its $4.5 billion in cuts to Australia’s aid program and work to reinstate funding to levels published in the 2013-14 Budget.

Senator Rhiannon moved the following amendments together by leave:

After subparagraph (a)(iv), insert:

                 (v)   the United Nations has urged developed countries to commit to a 0.7 per cent gross national income (GNI) target by 2015 to meet the Millennium Development Goals;

Paragraph (c), omit all words after “Australia’s aid program and”, substitute “to work towards 0.7 per cent of GNI allocated to overseas aid by increasing funding to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2017-18”.

Question—That the amendments be agreed to—put and negatived.

Statements by leave : Senator Rhiannon and the Assistant Minister for Social Services (Senator Fifield), by leave, made statements relating to the motion.

Main question put and passed.