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Foreign aid chaos

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Foreign aid chaos

Details Published on Monday, 05 August 2013 03:30

The Rudd Government has cast a pall of uncertainty over the foreign aid program with more policy on the run, sleight of hand accounting and a lack of disclosure.

The Economic Statement released today includes an additional $420 million over four years for PNG, to be funded from the existing AusAID Budget, yet there is no detail about whether this will require cuts or deferrals to other programs within AusAID.

Promised increases in the foreign aid budget have been also been deferred, with $878.5 million of forecast increases pushed out in the forward estimates into 2017/18.

It will require a massive and unprecedented increase in the foreign aid budget of more than $2 billion in 2017/18 to reach its commitment of an aid budget equivalent to 0.5% of Gross National Income by 2017/18. There is no prospect of the Rudd Government honouring that commitment, yet it had the gall to include it in the Statement.

The Rudd government cannot be trusted to honour any of its commitments, as it has raided the foreign aid budget of $375 million to fund the onshore processing of asylum seekers, deferred increases three times and used the aid program as a slush fund to buy votes for its United Nations Security Council campaign.

A hallmark of the Labor government is that it will continue to spend recklessly and will raid the foreign aid program again in the future.

Prime Minister Rudd must reveal precisely what he has promised PNG in terms of influence and control over Australia’s large and growing foreign aid program in PNG.

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