Aid budget cuts would be “utterly shameful”, “a devastating slap in the face”, says newly appointed CEO of Plan International Australia

Aid budget cuts would be “utterly shameful”, “a devastating slap in the face”, says newly appointed CEO of Plan International Australia

In response to reports that the government is considering a ten per cent cut to the Australian aid budget, Susanne Legena, Chief Executive Officer of Plan International Australia, said:

“Any further cuts to the Australian aid budget would be a devastating slap in the face for children around the world.

“The foreign aid budget is not an ATM; the government can’t just keep making withdrawals to pay for other shortfalls.

“The prospect of spending billions on corporate tax cuts while cutting a vital lifeline to the world’s poorest is utterly shameful.

“Are we really a country that robs from the poor to give to the rich?

“Are we really willing to cheat children out of a future, in a week where our national values have already been tainted by cheating and scandal?

“Australia is bigger than this.

“Just this week, Plan International Australia released a ground-breaking new report detailing the reality for 500 million teenage girls around the world. It revealed the urgent need for renewed investment to free girls from child marriage, gender based violence and rising teenage pregnancy, particularly among or nearest neighbours.

“Our government wants to be a leader in our region. A leader in the world. A leader for gender equality.

“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop must rule out these cuts immediately, to avoid tainting Australia’s credibility further.

“The Australian aid budget has been raided year on year and is now at its lowest level ever. The most devastating of these cuts came in 2014 and is still having an impact on the programs we deliver for children. We were forced to withdraw basic education services for children in Timor-Leste, alternative learning in the Philippines and vital nutrition in Zimbabwe.”

 

About Plan International

Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. Working together with children, young people, our supporters and partners, we strive for a just world, tackling the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children.

For media enquiries please contact:

Hayley Cull

Head of Advocacy

0432 081 238 / Hayley.cull@plan.org.au

Images of children benefitting from aid are available for media use.