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Our Aid Contribution -

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A great step forward on Bonville.

Thank you for bringing us up-to-date. Yesterday on Sunrise we aired criticism about the level of aid our Federal Government gives to other countries. A new United Nations report claimed Australia is not contributing its fair share. The report's author told us

other developed countries leave us for dead. Take a look.

They committed they would give 0.7%

of their GNI every single year as

aid, countries like nor way, Sweden,

Denmark have already reefed that

target. Australia needs to live up to its commitments. After that interview went to air, the government wanted to have its say. So joining us is the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Bruce Billson. Good morning. Australia gives less than one quarter of 1% of our income in foreign aid. You don't dispute those figures do you?

No, that is right. It is 0.28 an

amount that has been increasing.

In fact the last five federal

budgets have seen substantial increases in foreign increases in foreign aid

But in dollar Thames it has

increased but as a per cent average

of our income it has actually

dropped

Yes, it has also increased in that

percentage. It was 0.26 last year

and it is 0.28 this year and

hopefully by showing that aid is

effective and making a real

difference we can continue that positive trend

The criticism yesterday was that we

are not doing enough. Do you think

we are living up to our commitments?

We have signed on to the millennium

development goals and we have as a

target meet I thank 0.7 figure,

what we are doing is working

towards that 0.7 figure

recognising that there are other

influences on the budget that we

need to work cowsly with our

partners in developing countries to

see what they need. It is not

always direct Carr, but know-how,

expertise to help build up the

capacity of those countries but we

have signed up and there have been

solid gains made

When do you reckon we will get to

that 0.7% because that is what the

U. N has said is fair from a

development country, we the third

most prosperous country and we are

doing it well but less than half of

getting to that target

The 0.7 target has been held out as

a 2015 target and we are making

gains in that direction. We have

not nailed down a specific fixed

timetable because things vary. One

of the things we have and it is a

nice problem to have, is that our

economy is actually growing so

those ratios actually need

additional money provided to them

just to the actually stand still

but we are going beyond that. We

are very commit Dodd helping the

developing countries particularly

in our region where two-thirds of

the world's poor actually live and

we have seen innovative ways of

making our aid work effectively as

well as making sure we can partner

developing countries to optimise the resources they have and the opportunities they have to support

the needs of their own citizens

Taking it to 0.7 at the outside

you said it will be 2015, it may be sooner

That is the target that has been

set. That is where the

international community has come to

- together saying there is a

partnership between developed and

fortunate economies like ours and

developing economies

There are undertakings there and we

are working towards fulfilling them

and I'm optimistic further gains

will be made in the future

We should explain that the UN is

very active in the area. Next week

is the UN world summit. Five years

ago they set these millennium

development goals, 8 goals to focus

the developed world on trying to

reduce poverty in underprivileged

countries. Are you going to stick

to those goals or are you not going

to side with the US who really want

to break them down next week?

Yeah, I think there is a bit of

misunderstanding about some of the

work that is going on leading up to

the UN summit in New York next week.

It is not so much a discussion

about change in oral terribling

commitments to those goals because

there have been good gains made and

I think the international community

is right to say we need more

The US are putting up 750

amendments and they want to get rid

of the goals completely. They were

described at a conference yesterday

as being terrorists towards the UN

and taking the focus right away.

If that goes through, that will

destroy the millennium development

goals. You can't support that

I saw some of those comments and

they were frankly surprising

because the US is doing exactly the

same thing as many other countries

are doing, trying to amend the Test,

trying to have the Test water downed

They want to water it down

Whatever happens in New York next

week will not actually change the

commitments to the millennium

development goals. They are there

and international consensus has

been arrived at. We know there are

too many people living in deep

poverty. We know we can make a

contribution not only in cash but

ineffective aid and in know-how

We have an assurance from you that

you will not support the change

fresh the US?

There are a number of changes there.

We are not sure exactly which once

the US are being held up and

ridiculed for. There is a number of

changes there at the moment. We

have got our priorities. We want to

see a piece building commission as

part of the UN framework. We want

to see that when there is to see that when there is harm to see that when there is harm

being done with people within

countries not necessarily across

borders that things happen and we

want to see some reforms to the UN

Every head of every aid agency in

Australia say the amendments the US

is pushing for will destroy the

goals of the UN in the millennium

goals. Let's see what happens next

week suffice to say you are really

under a focus here because if they

destroyed you have a lot of

explaining to dofrpblgts sure, but

we are committed to the goals and we

will keep working towards them

Might check in next week

It is really important because you

know how you have the Live 8

concerts on poverty and things like

that, they are terrific to build

awareness but the UN sets these

goals, these focuses and you have

the US now trying to water them

down and we need the international

community to get behind the UN and

to achieve something. It is great

to have a concert but you need

governments to be serious about it

so we will follow it