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Reduction of poverty is the Coalition's key aid goal: Hill



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

♦KMRARfiOKD UNTIL· 2PM /KfiTl ON SATURDAY. JUNK 13. 1992*

Saturday, June 13 55/92

REDUCTION OF POVERTY IS THE COALITION'S KEY AID GOAL·! HILL

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affaire, Senator Robert Hill, today said that the reduction of poverty was the overriding goal of the Federal Coalition's aid policy.

Senator Hill made his comment in a speech to a Community Aid Abroad (CAA) seminar on foreign aid in Melbourne.

"The Liberal/National Coalition's aid policy is based on the principle that the overriding purpose of the aid program is the reduction of poverty," Senator Hill said.

"Although aid may also serve economic and political ends, these should be regarded as subsidiary goals.

"The effectiveness of aid should be judged principally in terms of the contribution it makes to reducing poverty.

"The priority given to the goal of poverty reduction is not simply a moral principle - which we believe most Australians would support - it is also based on pragmatism.

"Aid programs or projects conceived to meet political or commercial ends, while also allegedly contributing to humanitarian goals, frequently seem to go wrong and miss all three goals.

"On the other hand, a project that uses Australian goods and services to make a significant contribution to the reduction of poverty in one of Australia's developing country neighbours can hardly fail to assist Australia's economic and political

interests. ·

"But unless poverty is given clear priority over other goals there is a danger that aid will fail to achieve anything worthwhi le." # **

Senator Hill said the Coalition had a clear preference for focussing Australian aid on our immediate region. .

"There are, of course, political and trade benefits to be realised by this concentration, but it is based on the

overriding goal of reducing poverty," he said. f

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"We should ask where and how we can contribute most to the reduction of poverty.

"South East Asia has many millions of poor people - despite the general dynamism of the economies - and Australia is well- equipped to provide many vitally needed resources."

Senator Hill said the Government should take control of the aid program and ensure that the full range of Australian resources were employed to help alleviate poverty.

The Coalition would also like to see Australian equipment play a larger role in the Australian aid program.

"Solar equipment, for example, to provide health and

educational facilities to remote areas could play a valuable role in Australian programs," Senator Hill said.

He said the Coalition supported recent Government

experimentation with the use of NGO (non-government organisation) components in normal Australian International Development Assistance Bureau (AIDAB) projects.

"Projects aimed at grass roots poverty targets in health, basic education, agriculture or income generation can benefit enormously from such components," he said.

"In fact, the Coalition would like to see an expanded use of NGOs in the delivery of Australia's aid program.

"The increased use of NGOs and private aid consultants would improve the flexibility and responsiveness of Australian aid.

"However, we would like to see a clarification of the

selection procedures and payment arrangements for such NGOs."

(ends)

Enquiries: Senator Hill on Saturday at the CAA foreign aid . * seminar at the CAA Building, 2nd Floor, 156 George Street, Fitsroy. ·