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Monday, 3 June 2013
Page: 4713

Foreign Aid

Dear Mr Murphy

Thank you for your letter of February 11, 2013 regarding the petition submitted to the Standing Committee on Petitions requesting that 0.5 per cent of Australia's Gross National Income (GNI) be allocated to overseas aid by 2015.

The Australian Government is committed to reaching 0.5 per cent of GNI.

In 2012, the Government took the difficult, but fiscally responsible, decision to defer this commitment until 2016-17. While this will slow the growth of the aid program, aid funding will continue to increase over the next four years.

This financial year, the overseas aid budget will increase to a record $5.2 billion.

The Australian Government recognises that adequate nutrition is vital to ensuring that children grow, learn and become productive members of society. The Government addresses malnutrition in a number of ways. Support is tailored to the needs of individual countries and, where possible, uses a multi-faceted approach. For example, in Timor-Leste Australia is helping to address nutrition by improving health care for women and children, increasing access to clean water and sanitation, and improving food security through increased agricultural productivity.

In 2011-12, Australia spent around 13 per cent, or $643 million, of its aid budget on health programs and around $194 million on water and sanitation programs. As Australia's aid budget increases it is likely that funding to address nutrition issues will also increase.

I trust that this information is of assistance.

Yours sincerely

from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr