12th Assembly 2009

Church urges overseas aid boost

The Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia has commended the Rudd Government for its commitment to boosting the aid budget to 0.5 per cent of gross national income (GNI) by 2015.

The Sydney meeting urged the Government to increase it even further — to 0.7 per cent by 2015 — in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The federal Government’s aid commitment more than doubles overseas aid following the dramatic decline during the Howard Government years.

Aid spending fell to below 0.2 per cent of GNI in 2005 and 2006, one of the lowest levels of any developed country.

Supporters of the proposal told the Assembly that the global economic crisis had made achievement of the Millennium Development Goals more difficult.

But the impact of the crisis on poverty overseas made action more urgent.

The proposal was accepted unanimously.