Australia’s decision to shift a portion of its aid budget to support asylum seekers within its borders created a tempest in a teapod recently. Now, in a Devex exclusive, the country’s aid agency is providing details on how the funding shift will affect foreign aid.
Late last year, media reports of an alleged funding shift created a bit of a firestorm, although some appeared to be politically motivated. Earlier this month, the Australian government acknowledged the plan, amounting to about 375.1 million Australian dollars ($389 million), drawing calls from local NGOs and political opposition to release more details on what countries and programs would be affected.
In response to a Devex inquiry, an Australian officialsuggested that the government was cutting AU$255 million from the 2012-12 aid budgets of 32 countries and interregional programs (see tables below). Originally estimated at AU$3.14 billion, the Australian Agency for International Development’s support will amount to about AU$2.89 billion.
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Aid contribution to global programs will be cut by AU$110.4 million, from AU$1.28 billion to AU$1.17 billion, according to data shared with Devex.
The most painful cut may be to humanitarian and emergency response: AU$70.3 million. AusAID’s humanitarian aid budget will total AU$208.2 million, down from the AU$278.5 million which was initially allocated by the Australian government.
This won’t mean projects will be scrapped entirely and contributions to global programs will be ignored, an AusAID official suggested.
“Wherever possible, AusAID has sought to defer and delay programs rather than cancel them,” Courtney Hoogen, AusAID’s media director, told Devex. “These changes are very small and they come on top of five years of consistent growth in Australia’s aid program.”
AusAID’s aid budget for 2012-2013 is pegged at AU$5.15 billion, which is still within 0.5 percent of the gross national income directive of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
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