16 October, 2015 - Plan International welcomes commitment to replenishing aid budget, calls for bipartisan support

Plan International Australia has welcomed the Labor Opposition’s new commitment to restoring the aid budget, and says bipartisan support is crucial to ensure a greater impact on the world’s poorest communities.

Speaking at the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) conference, opposition Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek promised an additional $30 million to NGO program funding, reinstating the Blue Book to promote greater transparency, an annual $10 million fund towards research and evaluating aid programs, and legislating funding commitments for foreign aid.

“It’s great to see the Labor Opposition’s commitment to making a greater impact on the most marginalised communities across the globe,” says Plan International Australia CEO, Ian Wishart.

“The $30 million fund to NGO programs will deliver a much-needed replenishment of the current aid budget, which we’ve unfortunately seen rapidly dwindle in recent times. This additional funding will go a long way to help agencies like Plan International continue – and potentially increase – the work we do to help people living in poverty,” he says.

“DFAT’s own evaluations show that for less than 3 per cent of the aid budget, NGOs like ours delivered about 18 per cent of the aid program – so restoring the funding is good value-for-money, and makes perfect business sense.

“The Labor Opposition’s emphasis on transparency and accountability in today’s announcement will help rebuild confidence in Australian aid. Reinstating the Blue Book will mean Australians will be able see exactly where their dollar is going, and how the government is helping the world’s poorest communities.

“Also, legislating on how the aid budget is used will give additional parliamentary scrutiny, and will guarantee spending in particular areas like gender equality. This is something we’ve been calling for, so I’m pleased to see Ms Plibersek take this on board.

“The sooner we work together, the quicker we’ll see greater impact for our neighbours in developing countries. That’s why we’re calling for bipartisan support,” adds Mr Wishart.

Editors’ notes:

  • Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 77 years ago, working in 51 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.

Media contact: Fay Daoud, Plan International Australia, 0403 293 993