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ACFID welcomes immediate aid boost for Pacific recovery

2 min read

Australia’s peak body for aid NGOs – the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) – has welcomed the Australian government’s decision to increase the Australian aid budget in 2022-23 to $4.549 billion from an originally estimated $4.335 billion in 2021-22, and the announcement of $324.4 million for the Pacific and Timor-Leste to help COVID-19 recovery.

But ACFID is calling on the Australian government to end the temporary nature of some aid measures and make aid growth permanent to reflect growing human need, instability and the changing regional geostrategic environment.

Marc Purcell, CEO of ACFID said “We welcome the new assistance to the Pacific to battle the COVID-19 downturn. Australia’s support remains vital and this front-loaded investment in the Pacific’s economic recovery is what’s needed.

“But the development reversals created by COVID-19 will last over a decade. Our Pacific relationships are not temporary – and our funding model needs to reflect this. Temporary measures and ‘base’ assistance are confusing our long-term intentions and relationships in the region. This outdated framing needs to be dropped.

“We need to continue to increase our investments in long-term, quality development programming to lift the livelihoods of people across the region. Building human security based on Pacific priorities is the pathway to closer cooperation, people-to-people links and greater stability.

“The new allocation for COVAX to tackle global vaccine inequity and the recently announced new humanitarian funding for Ukraine are very welcome steps.”

Budget measures in-brief

  • Two-year, $324.4 million package of economic and social support for the Pacific and Timor-Leste to help recover from COVID-19;
  • Ring-fenced $85 million for COVAX to tackle vaccine global inequity; and
  • Spending $65 million on much-needed humanitarian to Ukraine.

From this year (2022-23), the Government will add 2.5% to the what it defines as the ‘base’ aid program. While this increase is termed ‘indexation’, it is important to note that this figure falls short of the most recent CPI figures of 4.25 per cent in 2021-22 and 3 per cent for 2022-23.

“The Government is rightly buffering the aid program against inflationary pressures. It is good news that this commitment has been kept.

“It is critical for the Australian government to substantially grow development cooperation and humanitarian assistance so we are better equipped for the international tasks at hand.

“We must invest in education for the next generation, improved disaster resilience, stronger health systems, and initiatives to advance the rights and wellbeing of women and girls, and people with disabilities.”

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Lourdes Antenor is an experienced writer who specialises in the not-for-profit sector and its affiliations. She is the content producer for Third Sector News, an online knowledge-based platform for and about the Australian NFP sector.


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