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  1. Garth Luke
    Garth Luke January 29, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Isn’t the answer to your title question Ashlee that Australia is an AID scrooge? Our low levels of humanitarian funding reflect our low levels of aid funding overall, exacerbated by a policy which focusses more on small countries that are geographically close to us than countries with the greatest needs.

    I am not sure that a large increase in the share of aid to humanitarian assistance is a good solution, for two reasons. I fear the Government’s focus on the Pacific might mean that this would further reduce funding to effective multilateral development programs and to effective development programs in non-Pacific countries. My second reason is that there appears to be considerable scope to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance through better disaster prevention and preparedness and more direct support of people and NGOs in disaster areas, with less use of imported civilian and military personnel.

    However I certainly think the effectiveness and impact of the aid program would be significantly improved if we removed the artificial separation of humanitarian and development programs. We should apply humanitarian principles to the whole aid program and thus:
    – provide assistance on the basis of need and our capacity to make a difference
    – prioritise poor people’s survival and focus on ensuring everyone has access to basic services and is safe
    – ensure local people are at the centre of decision making and action.

    This is what we expect and largely achieve for Australians in Australia but we don’t seem to apply these principles across our aid program.

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