• Aid consultants earning more than the Prime Minister!

    Posted by John

    4 July, 2011

    Over the weekend, the newspapers once again highlighted the issue of technical consultants being paid enormous amounts of money to contribute their expertise to Australian funded aid programs. The figures are striking, and should prompt us to ask serious questions. Is this the most effective way that we can be spending our aid dollars?

    The frustrating thing in these kinds of media reports is that there is nothing constructive about the commentary. These wages seem ridiculous to me and it is a problem that the government needs to continue to address, but once again, our attention is directed away from the actual problem at hand - poverty! That's the problem we need to fix.

    It angers me that while we talk about consultant salaries, we forget to talk about any of the good news stories. We forget to talk about finding real solutions. We forget to be constructive.

    The media articles refer to the recently completed Independent Aid Review. Hopefully that review, soon to be released by the government, will prompt us to discuss both the quantity and the quality of our aid. Hopefully it engages us in a constructive conversation about how we can best play our part in solving the problem.

    If you haven't seen the submission Micah Challenge made to the aid review, I encourage you to take a look .

    We think we have something constructive to say. Here are two suggestions we made to get the government started:

    1) "Ensure that poverty-reduction and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals are identified as the central and overarching purpose of the Australian aid program"

    2) "Education breeds accountability and transparency, therefore a commitment to community education must be a core part of Australia's aid program going forward. Accordingly, AusAID should review its reporting to ensure they provide up to date information about funding commitments that is both easy to find and also in a format that is accessible to the majority of Australians."

    If they follow those principles, maybe Ausaid won't have to spend their time defending exhorbitant salaries and can get on with the good work they do saving and improving the lives of millions.

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    John Beckett (known to most of us as JB) is the National Coordinator of Micah Challenge Australia. JB desires to see more and more Christians taking on justice, mercy and humility as a way of life and speaking, praying and acting for and with the global poor.