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Federal Budget, Political

Climate investments important, but Australia’s aid budget static in real terms

The Australian Council for International Development 2 mins read

Media release | Tuesday 14 May, 2024

The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the peak body for international development and humanitarian action, acknowledges the importance of new funding for climate initiatives in the Pacific and for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in this budget. However, the lack of new funds to respond to soaring global humanitarian crises is disappointing.  

The aid budget goes up $193 million to $4.961 billion but remains static at 0.19% of Gross National Income (GNI). There are investments commencing in the new financial year of $65 million for the Green Climate Fund and the Pacific Resilience Facility, which are mechanisms of choice for partners, and further contributions to the Partnerships for Infrastructure, focused on South-East Asia. All these commitments were announced in the past year at multilateral forums. 

ACFID welcomes the $1.1 million increase to the Central Disability Allocation, bringing it to a total of $14.0 million in 2024-25. The sector welcomes an announcement of a new five-year $20 million South-East Asia Gender-based Violence Prevention platform; however, we acknowledge that this funding is not new and additional.  

Chief Executive Marc Purcell said: “We support investment in responding to climate change, particularly through the Pacific Resilience Facility. We expect the Government to do much more to reflect the urgency of the situation and as we seek to host a UN Climate COP with the Pacific in 2026. 

“This budget provided the Government with an opportunity to show real humanitarian leadership in responding to human suffering across the world. Australians see what is happening on their screens in all corners of the globe and expect their government to do more. This budget barely touches the surface.  The failure to lift the Humanitarian Emergency Fund is disappointing.”  

"Australia's aid budget is static in real terms while the Asia-Pacific region is way off track to achieve the SDGs. We are going backwards on eradicating extreme poverty. The Government needs to invest more in the basics of development. There must be a plan and pathway to scale up aid to its target of 0.5% of GNI. 

“Australia stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the UK, Canada and New Zealand on the world stage, and is the world's 13th largest economy, yet is number 26 of 31 in the OECD donor rankings. The Government needs to do better on development and humanitarian assistance as a percentage of gross national income”. 

“We need to shore up our multilateral credentials with greater humanitarian and global contributions to climate finance to help uphold the rules-based order. The latter will build our credentials for the Government’s mooted bid for the UN Security Council. 

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Georgie Moore on 0477 779 928. 

Background

Australia is placed at 26th out of 31 DAC member states in terms of ODA generosity, an increase from 27th of 31 in 2022. The DAC ODA average is 0.37% GNI.

Australia is one of 5 OECD countries that does not count domestic support for refugees as part of its ODA. However, if in-country refugee costs are removed, Australia still languishes as the 24th most generous of 31 DAC donors in 2023 and the DAC ODA/GNI average reduces to 0.32%.

Australia’s aid generosity has slipped considerably over time. In 2014 Australia was the 13th most generous OECD donor with ODA of 0.31% GNI and in 1995, Australia (0.34% GNI) ranked 9th out of all OECD DAC members.

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