People-centred platform: ACFID welcomes Labor Party’s policy stance on foreign aid

The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) has welcomed statements by Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific, MP Pat Conroy, that a Labor government would strengthen the position of Australia’s international development agenda within Australian foreign policy.

However, Australia’s top aid NGO body has urged the party to accelerate progress towards investing 0.5% of Australia’s gross national income (GNI) in international development by setting a clear timetable for reach the goal.

Speaking at an election forum on international development co-organized by ACFID, the international community of development entrepreneurs and the ANU Development Policy Center held at the ANU on Monday, the shadow minister emphasized the importance of putting poverty reduction and human capital at the center of Australia’s international. development policy, emphasizing that Australia’s official aid program should not be transactional in nature. “Our humanity must not stop at our territorial borders,” Mr. Conroy said.

The Shadow Minister reaffirmed the ALP’s position that reducing poverty, hunger and despair is in Australia’s national interest as these are some of the main causes of instability, conflict and violence. Mr. Conroy also stressed the need for long-term development partnerships based on a commitment to a stable, prosperous and peaceful region, stressing that health, education and gender equality are at the heart of the prospectus. help from the Labor Party.

In response to the speech, Marc Purcell, CEO of ACFID, said:

“Labour’s reaffirmation of poverty reduction and investment in people as the primary goal of development is very welcome.

“At a time of heightened geopolitical competition, poverty reduction and human development risk being distorted or lost from development cooperation to the response to the latest China-backed infrastructure project.

“That would not be the right way to work for an international development program. It will not provide the long-term partnerships and development that our neighbors seek.

“Health, education and gender equality are some of the fundamental investments that societies need, so the Shadow Minister’s focus on these areas also sets the right tone for a work program .”

Conroy said Labor would build capacity and capacity at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and ensure development skills are prioritized and valued.

He said that under a Labor government, development roles within DFAT would be elevated to the same career status as some of the most sought-after diplomatic posts.

Labor is also committing to increase funding for the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) run by DFAT by $32 million, which would build the capacity of Australian NGOs working on the ground in the region. Mr Conroy said NGOs are important development partners for the Australian government and in supporting civil society overseas.

Mr. Purcell commented:

“Rebuilding DFAT’s development management and leadership capacity is a critical priority, as is overhauling the size and structure of the aid budget, if we are to be the partner of choice in our region. Putting in place bold new incentives for development and leadership roles – like those promised on Monday – would be a positive step for what is needed.

“We would now like to see the aid budget restructured so that the current temporary and targeted measures are sustained. We would also like Labor to commit to a timetable for accelerating the amount of aid, so that we reach its stated target of 0.5% of GNI as soon as possible.

Mr. Conroy also announced that a Labor government would implement a DFAT-led review to look at new forms of development finance and policy options, beyond official development assistance (ODA).

Mr. Purcell commented:

“Labour has put the Sustainable Development Goals at the heart of their aid platform. However, there is a huge funding gap needed to support their achievement.

“Examining how we can attract more private sector capital and strengthen the human development footprint of the aid program – in areas such as climate change mitigation and the transition to renewable energy – is a practical step. to cross if Labor were elected to government.”

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