In a bid to return the budget to surplus next year, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced in May that the Gillard government was deferring its commitment to hike aid spending to 0.5 percent of the country’s gross national income. Much to the dismay of Australia’s development community, he revealed that the government intended to meet the 0.5 percent target in 2016-17, a year later than initially pledged by then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd back in 2007. Australian aid spending will remain at 0.35 percent of GNI in 2012-13.
Carr, who succeeded Rudd as Australia’s top diplomat in March, nonetheless emphasized that the country’s aid budget would continue to grow each year through 2017. Deputy Leader of the Opposition Julie Bishop has since argued that setting a Coalition timetable for the 0.5 percent target would be “reckless” in light of the government’s aid spending plans. Australia’s next federal election is due late next year.
Lorenzo is a Devex senior analyst based in Manila. Our resident budget cruncher, Lorenzo spearheads Devex's in-depth reporting and analysis on global development finance and policy. He attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut on the Freeman Asian Scholarship, earning degrees in Government and Social Studies.