Recently an independent committee was established by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to review Australia’s current aid program.
Palms Australia was one of many non-government organisations (NGOs) to make a submission, highlighting the following points:
- Palms Australia strongly supports the proposed increase in Australia’s aid budget, which has bi-partisan support*;
- Smaller NGOs are often more efficient than larger ones because of the social capital donated by staff and members. AusAID should investigate more ways of supporting smaller NGOs;
- A greater proportion of Australia’s aid budget should be given through NGOs, rather than private contractors;
- Steps must be taken to increase continuity within AusAID’s own sections;
- The recently foreshadowed move away from highly paid consultants is welcome;
- Volunteering must remain an essential part of AusAID’s program;
- Palms Volunteers produce the type of sustainable results which we should be seeking from our aid program.
- AusAID should be removed from DFAT, becoming a separate department, not beholden to Australia’s economic interests and unafraid to advocate for justice in every case.
* Though recent comments may have confused the issue, Tony Abbott has stated since that Liberal Party policy remains to increase the aid budget to 0.5% by 2015.