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Savage cut to emergency aid: Hill budget reaction



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR ROBERT HILL LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

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Tuesday, August 20 Canberra 72/91

SAVAGE COT TO EMERGENCY ATP; HTT.T. BTIDGET REACTION

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Robert Hill, today said the savage 33 per cent cut in emergency aid contained in the 1991/92 Budget highlighted the Hawke Government's skewed aid priorities.

"The Government was roundly condemned in May when it was able to find only a paltry $250,000 in emergency aid funds for the

victims of the Bangladesh cyc l o n e , " Senator Hill said.

"Senator Evans was embarrassed into seeking an extra $2 million from Cabinet after he found the initial grant exhausted the

emergency aid budget.

"The cut in emergency funds contained in today's Budget - from $15 million in 1990/91 to $10 million in 1991/92 - means the

dearth of funds will be more acute in the coming year.

"This is a savage cut and highlights the Government's skewed aid priorities.

"The cut is part of an overall 5.5 per cent cut in emergency,

refugee and relief aid.

"Meanwhile, the Government continues to pour too much money into the World Bank, where Australia cannot ensure that its money is directed to projects of the highest Australian priority.

"Funding for food aid, which can alleviate famine, has also been cut in real terms in the Budget.

"Despite the fact that food is efficiently produced by Australia, and the Government's own admission that ' food aid will be

required on an increasing scale in the 1990s', it continues to overlook the vital role Australia can play in this area.

"The Government's failure to address these fundamental aid needs is in part a result of rash promises of aid made by Mr Hawke

during high-profile overseas visits - such as 1989's pledge of $45 million to Pakistan and India over three years, a promise

that will not be met."

(e n d s )

Enquiries: Senator Hill or Mark Batlstich on (06) 277 3170

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH