Dear friends and supporters,
Activities for 2015 are well underway and we are anticipating another busy year. We are currently developing our program of workshops and events, and we’re looking forward to working with old friends and new diaspora organisations again this year.
For the aid and development sector in general though, 2015 will pose many challenges. The Federal Government announced massive cuts to foreign aid last year and many fear further cuts might be in store when the Federal Budget is handed down in May.
These cuts of almost $11billion over five years will have a terrible impact on many programs that are helping the most vulnerable people in all parts of the world. As a share of national income, foreign aid is set to fall from 0.32 per cent to less than 0.22 per cent, which is the lowest level since records began in the 1960s.
Numbers alone are sometimes too abstract to explain the full impact, but the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) has humanised the true cost. A cut of $11b will mean that 1.4 million babies may be born without a birth attendant, putting mothers and babies at risk; 2.2 million children may not get to enroll in school, 3.7million children may not be vaccinated, 4.7million may not have access to safe water and 21.9 million people in emergency situations may go unassisted.
Like many Australians, I want to live in a society that values compassion and global social justice and a fair go for all. It is clear that we must remind all Australians, including our government, that international aid and development are important to us, and make a great difference to lives of millions of our brothers and sisters around the world.
The good news is that a new campaign has been launched to encourage young Australians to get behind Australian aid. More than 50 organisations have developed the Campaign for Australian Aid
, which uses social media, technology and a food truck to build an understanding of how effective Australian aid is. You can lend your voice to the campaign by going to http://www.australianaid.org/
This month we said farewell to David Nyuol Vincent who joined us as Community Coordinator last year while Lisa Vettori was on maternity leave. Thank you David for your leadership and insight and welcome back Lisa. We don’t lose David entirely of course, as he is also the Director of one of our partner groups, Peace Palette.
Denise Cauchi (Director)