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Thursday, 21 September 1972
Page: 1749

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Foreign Affairs) - by leave - Since 1945 Australia has spent $1.8 billion on aid. In the last decade official development assistance has more than trebled from $64m in 1961-62 to $200m last financial year. This year it is expected to reach $200m. We have consistently been among the first three or four of the major aid donors, with a figure for direct government aid averaging 0.56 per cent of gross national product over the last 4 financial years. At the same time other financial transfers including export credits, private investment and voluntary contributions to developing countries have also grown substantially. When added to the figures for direct government aid, these become the basis of the calculation used by those advo cating a foreign aid target of one per cent of GNP. We believe this method is open to some criticism as an indicator of genuine aid. However, on this basis Australia last year again exceeded the target with a total financial flow of 1.27 per cent of GNP.

These are the straightforward facts: They clearly show that in comparison with other Western donors the proportion of our resources allocated is high. In other material which I shall seek leave to table as an annex to this statement I shall explain the basis and motivation for aid programmes; the reasons why those programmes are important to Australia; the important part they play in the joint international effort for the economic development of developing countries; and what we believe to be the high quality and effectiveness of our aid programmes. I shall follow this with a short description of the main programmes and forms of aid under which our development assistance is given. In addition, in another section of the annex I also propose to provide material I have had prepared giving details of our programmes in each country to which we give aid as well as a new collation of informative statistical material.

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