Australian budget bad for poor

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Wahroonga, New South Wales

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Australia has today expressed deep concern that those most in need will be hurt by the federal budget released last night.

It is disappointing that the greatest burden from the cuts has fallen on the shoulders of those who can least afford it.

“Cuts to both foreign aid, and support systems and services here at home pose a real risk to the poor,” said ADRA Australia CEO, Mark Webster. “These changes will increase inequality, which is bad for our country and our region.”

“It is disappointing that the greatest burden from the cuts has fallen on the shoulders of those who can least afford it.”

Last night the Coalition Government announced it will make a further $3.1 billion cuts to foreign aid, on top of the $4.5 billion announced in September, while also delaying CPI increases until after 2016.

“Two thirds of the world’s poor people live in Asia and the Pacific,” said Mr Webster. “These cuts have real impacts on real people – many who are literally next door.”

At home cuts have also fallen on health, disability support, income support and community services – all of which provide a safety net around the disadvantaged in our communities.

“Every day our staff and volunteers work with people struggling to keep their heads above water,” he said. “The challenges they face will now significantly increase.”

The agency, however, has welcomed some features of the budget including an increase in humanitarian funding and the government’s ongoing commitment to partnering with Australian NGOs and volunteers.

ADRA Australia is the official development and humanitarian agency of the Adventist Church in Australia. ADRA works with people in poverty and distress to create just and positive change through empowering partnerships and responsible action. It is a member of the Australian Council for Social Services and a member of the Australian Council for International Development. ADRA Australia is part of the international ADRA network with a presence in more than 120 countries.

For more information about ADRA’s work overseas or here in Australia visit <www.adra.org.au> or call 1800 242 372.