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Monday, 1 December 2008
Page: 12048

Mr WOOD (6:46 PM) —On 13 October this year I had the great pleasure of meeting Fiona Grech from Micah Challenge as part of the Voices for Justice 2008 gathering, an event that brought together individuals from across Australia who are committed to seeing the Millennium Development Goals achieved. I met with Ms Grech and her fellow advocates, Ms Anna Boyd, Ms Lyn Jackson, Ms Bridget Meli and Mr Steve Bradbury, to discuss the Millennium Development Goals.

The Micah Challenge is committed to lobbying the government to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015—in particular, halving global poverty, improving maternal health and reducing child mortality. In the Asia-Pacific region, sadly, 34,000 mothers and 400,000 children die every year from preventable causes, and across the world one woman dies during childbirth every minute, which is a disgrace.

Of all donor nations, Australia ranks 15 out of 22 in terms of aid commitment. To reach our international aid target and achieve the MDGs, Australia needs to increase its aid contribution to 0.7 per cent of GNI. By increasing health aid to $1 billion over the next three years, Australia could help prevent over 240,000 child deaths and 26,000 maternal deaths. I congratulate Fiona Grech and all Micah Challenge advocates for their passionate pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals.