I did a bit of a google search today to find out a few facts and figures relating to Australia’s foreign aid budget and among other things l found that our foreign aid budget has been capped for 2 years at $5Billion until 2016-17 when the Foreign Aid budget will automatically rise in line with the Consumer Price Index.
I also found that Australia has international obligations under the Millennium Development Goals to spend 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on effective aid by 2020. Which basically means that we “MUST” continue to spend money on foreign aid…….. no matter how tight our overall budget may become.
I guess Australians fall into 2 main groups
(A) One which says we must and should provide foreign aid in order to help and assist developing countries and countries in crisis
(B) The group who might say we should be spending more money on looking after our own citizens and less on those from across the globe.
Perhaps we can reach a compromise that satisfies the concerns of both groups l referred to above.
We all know that people in desperate need can not “EAT” money, nor can they “WEAR” bank notes…. The money we send across in Foreign Aid must be “Spent” or “Converted” into items that particular countries and people may be needing. I.E. Our Foreign Aid dollars might be spent buying food, buying clothing, building houses and infrastructure and other items that may be needed.
In January 2014 the Federal Government rejected a request from SPC Ardmona (or Coca Cola Amatil) for a $25Million assistance package, which at the time placed more than 500 Victorian jobs on the line. Thankfully the Victorian State Government entered into an agreement for about $22Million in assistance for SPC Ardmona and the 500 plus Victorian jobs are secure….. For now
So my question to the Current (and future) Australian Governments. Why not spend money from the Foreign Aid budget to purchase SPC Ardmona tinned food products and send those products overseas to countries and people who require food? I am only throwing numbers around (no real theory behind it) but surely if The Australian Government said to SPC Ardmona that we require $250Million worth of canned food products per year. The tinned food shall be delivered overseas to assist in our efforts to prevent starvation. This would become a huge windfall for the Australian Based Supplier who wins a massive ongoing Government contract. In turn provides job security for Australians and at the same time we would be doing the right thing in ensuring we are helping to feed those in need from all over the world.
But why stop there…… Lets spend more of the Foreign Aid budget on Australian made products and ship those items to countries in need and let that become the way in which we meet our commitments under the Millennium Development Goals to spend 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on effective aid by 2020.
Yes we shall continue too spend the money on foreign aid that is required and expected of us, but we shall spend it on Australian made goods which are then shipped to where ever they are required.
Even when it comes to infrastructure and building/construction, we could send over Australian teams to help build these projects and potentially we could open up new opportunities for people who might be currently unemployed to join these teams as laborers and/or skilled workers.
What ever we are trying to do with our foreign aid dollars we ought to seriously consider ways in which we can get the people in need the “Goods, Services & Help” that they require, but where ever possible we should be ensuring we help by spending the money within our own economy and sending the products to those who need them.