Micah Challenge Australia Blog

 

The Micah Challenge blog is a space for discussion and debate about the issues of global poverty, faith, advocacy and justice and the Millennium Development Goals. This blog aims to provoke thought and challenge you to learn more about the issues discussed. We welcome your comments.

Micah Challenge is a global campaign of Christians speaking out against poverty and injustice. Click here to visit the Micah Challenge website.

  • The biggest aid cut in Australia's history

    Posted by Ben

    16 December, 2014

    With due deference to the terror and tragedy of unfolding events in Sydney's Martin Place yesterday, the Government delayed by a few hours the release of its mid-year budget update. However, when the Treasurer finally announced his plans, it was terrible news for Australia's aid program. On top of the $7.6 billion already ripped out of Australian aid since coming to office, the Government is planning to cut a further $3.7 billion from aid over the next four years. Despite the fact that aid represents just over 1% of the Federal Government's budget, cuts to aid represent more than a quarter of all the budget cuts this Government has made in the 15 months since coming to office. These cuts will take Australian aid to their lowest recorded levels and include the largest single-year cut to aid in Australian history – $1 billion or 20% taken out of the budget from this year to next. At a time when Australia's economy is growing, when our debt is 6th lowest among all developed countries, these cuts will plunge our contribution to global… read more

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  • Budget priorities and people power

    Posted by Ben

    26 March, 2014

    Budgets, they say, are moral documents. They reflect the priorities and aspirations of the governments and nations that prepare them. Budgets weigh up which issues and concerns will receive public funds, and how much they will receive, and which issues will be left aside. First budgets of new governments are also significant for signalling new priorities or key differences in approach from their predecessors. It is a way of (economically) framing the story the government wants to tell about itself, about the world, and about the solutions it has to offer to address the problems it regards as particularly important. So the budget sitting of Federal Parliament from Tuesday 13 May and the presentation of Treasurer Joe Hockey's first budget are widely regarded as key moments for the Abbott Government. It's in this light that we'll be watching with interest to see the direction the Government takes in its first overseas aid budget. (Watch the video below for my more detailed explanation of the budget process.) We won't just be watching, though. We… read more

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  • Australian aid does a lot of good

    Posted by Ben

    27 February, 2014

    AusAID's 2012–13 annual report (and its last stand-alone annual report since it was absorbed into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) was released late last week and there was lots to be happy about. Through our overseas aid program in 2012–13, we helped to: Vaccinate more than 2.7 million children against deadly diseases Provide safe water for an additional 2.2 million people Provide basic sanitation and increased knowledge of hygiene practices to around 1.9 million people Enrol an additional 1 million children in school Train 100,000 teachers and school officials Ensure more than 7 million poor women and men had access to social transfers (cash or food) Train 200,000 public servants, as well as more than 22,000 police and other law and order officials Support 27 countries to improve public financial management Provide 11.8 million people with life-saving assistance during conflict or crisis situations I would say that for less than 1.4% of the federal budget, and just 35 cents in every $100 of our nation's income, that… read more

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  • Harsh aid cuts and an unhappy new year

    Posted by Ben

    20 January, 2014

    On Saturday, the Government confirmed that it is cutting $625 million from the 2013-14 aid program, making the 2013-14 aid budget $107 million smaller than in 2012-13 – marking the first time aid has gone backwards since the year 2000. It also finally (after almost 5 months in office) confirmed which countries, regions and programs will be affected. In short: all of them. All regions of the world and all program areas (governance, infrastructure and rural development, disability, education, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, environmental sustainability) will be cut. Some deeply. Aid to Sub-Saharan Africa, where the world's poorest people are to be found, is being cut by almost half from a budgeted level of $224.9 million to just $133 million (vastly less than the $211.2 million that was invested there in 2012-13). Our contribution towards dealing with humanitarian and other emergencies as well as global refugee support has been cut by $75 million (from $339.6 million in the May budget to just $264.2 million). Cross regional and global… read more

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