Australia spends around $4 billion a year on foreign aid. While activists like the greens say that Australian taxes are well spent overseas, the reality is Australians deserve this assistance first.
Supporters of foreign aid say that it is money that is better spent in poorer countries compared to being spent in Australia. However, voters don’t need to look far to see examples of foreign aid being sent to under-developed countries only to be rorted by their governments.
What overseas governments do with their money should make Australians question if they really need our aid. Corruption, questionable government purchases and lacking transparency of some organisations that receive aid means Australian aid doesn’t even make it to the people it was meant for.
In early 2018, Indonesia took delivery of 8 Apache attack helicopters. In the 2017/18 year, Australia delivered over $350 million in aid to Indonesia. The cost of the attack helicopters? Over $400 million.
Australia sends $550 million each year to Papua New Guinea. In late 2018, it was discovered that the PNG Government would be buying 40 Maserati cars to cater for delegates to their upcoming APEC summit.
Not deterred by worldwide backlash to this, a week later the PNG Government added three Bentley limousines to their fleet, worth over $320,000 each. This revelation came at the same time it was revealed Australia was providing an extra $130 million in additional aid just to help PNG host APEC.
Whenever Australian taxes are being sent overseas, someone will be abusing Australia’s generosity.
Even if every dollar of the foreign aid budget made it to the people it was intended, Australians have always believed charity starts at home.
While $4 billion a year wouldn’t fix all of Australia’s problems, it could certainly help pensioners, returned service personnel and the estimated 116,000 homeless across our country. These are the people, Australians, that the government needs to look after first.
Australia is also a country that is constantly rocked by natural disasters. Only earlier in 2019, North Queensland was suffering some of the worst floods in decades, New South Wales was in 100% drought and Tasmania suffered through historically catastrophic bushfires, all at the same time.
Don’t Australians affected by disasters deserve all the assistance the government can give over sending aid overseas?
The latest costing on the Bradfield Scheme to drought proof huge areas of inland Australia by capturing floodwater from North Queensland, which One Nation is committed to, would be covered with just two years of diverted foreign aid funding.
The flow on effects of a nation building project such as this are almost incalculable. Water is the most essential resource to functioning a country and the country could be building it. Instead, politicians feel that money is better sent overseas.
As Australians it is our duty to look after our own backyard before trying to fix the world. This is why politicians must commit to redirecting our foreign aid budget to Australians first.