Australian Plan To Combine Aid Agency, Foreign Affairs Department Draws Criticism

“Tony Abbott, the new Australian prime minister, is recommending that AusAid, the government’s aid agency, be merged into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), after similar moves in Canada and New Zealand,” The Guardian reports, adding, “But aid experts expressed concerns about the proposed changes to the respected development agency.” According to the newspaper, “In 2012, Australia was the eighth-largest aid donor in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development group of rich countries, just ahead of Sweden.” The Guardian includes comments from former AusAid Deputy Director-General Annemaree O’Keefe; ActionAid Australia Executive Director Archie Law; and World Vision Australia Chief Executive Tim Costello. “Charities point out that foreign aid accounts for just 1.4 percent of the federal budget and has suffered disproportionately from cuts and deferrals,” the newspaper writes (Tran, 9/18).