Economy

May 10, 2017

Why cutting foreign aid (again) is such a terrible idea

Foreign aid is intended not only as a humanitarian gesture but is also to help circumvent potential longer term problems of poor governance, instability and potential for conflict.

Professor Damien Kingsbury — <em>Crikey</em> international affairs commentator

Professor Damien Kingsbury

Crikey international affairs commentator

foreign aid budget cut

Last night's federal budget announced further cuts to Australian foreign aid to help fund an expansion of the country’s counter-terrorism activities. There is no doubt that counter-terrorism is both necessary and expensive, but it is a failure of logic -- as well as Australia’s commitment to international welfare -- to conflate foreign aid with what amounts to intelligence, military, immigration and policing issues. 

Australia is already outside the top 15 aid donors, as a proportion of GDP. Of the world’s 28 aid donor countries, Australia’s aid budget has been cut more than any other in recent years, without including the loss of aid funds allocated to pay for its offshore asylum seeker detention program.

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