Maintaining geo-influence in the Indo-pacific region is important if Australia wants to keep a seat at the table and ensure future economic growth.
And according to various aid organisations, the way to maintain dominance in a region is simple. Send them cash.
Australia must boost foreign aid in the Indo-Pacific region if it wants to maintain its geo-political influence, a parliamentay inquiry is expected to be told.
Groups including Save the Children, Oxfam and the Refugee Council of Australia will give evidence on Friday at a Melbourne hearing into the effectiveness of Australia’s aid in the region.
‘Australia’s future economic growth is tied to the prosperity and stability of our region. We therefore cannot afford to lose geopolitical influence in shaping development outcomes in our immediate region,’ Save the Children said in its submission to the federal inquiry.
It comes as research shows Australia remains the biggest donor to developing Pacific nations.
The Lowy Institute’s Pacific aid map shows eight years of foreign aid given to island nations and Australia is leading the pack with more than $6.5 billion spent.
However China has overtaken New Zealand to sit second.
The federal government allocated $4.2 billion to its total aid budget in 2018/19. By 2021/22, the aid budget is expected to hit an all-time low — 19 cents in every $100 of gross national income.
The Refugee Council of Australia is calling for overseas aid to be increased to 0.7% of gross national income.
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The Australian Tribune with AAP