Australia*s Aid Links

Advantages and Disadvantages +
Social Justice and Equity
Aid or official development assistance (ODA)
helps countries better recover from natural
disasters and events. E.g. Floods in Pakistan or
the Haiti Earthquake.
The Floods in Pakistan have affected 20 million
people, it is estimated that 1,400 have lost their
lives and 650,000 people are without basic shelter.
While aid money is flowing into Pakistan there are
thousands hungry and afflicted by disease.
How has Caritas responded to this crisis?
Humanitarian reasons – to improve the living
standards for those in countries with low
levels of human development – e.g. low
literacy levels, high rates of infectious diseases
and low life expectancy.
Aid money helps provide basic infrastructure in
society such as clean water supplies, sanitation ,
telecommunications and transportation links.
Aid money can be spent on education that
helps break the ‘vicious cycle of poverty’.
AusAID development assistance has helped
eradicate or reduce the incidence of diseases.
For example, the eradication of Polio from the
Pacific Islands. Also, Australian aid money is
used in health programs to combat the global
fight against HIV/AIDS.
Approximately 200,000 people in PNG are
living with HIV/AIDS
Teenagers in Africa afflicted by Polio
Australia’s bilateral and multilateral aid
contributions help build and strengthen
positive relations between us and other
nations. It also helps develop trade links
with recipient countries–particularly those in
the Asia Pacific region.
Trade in the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 69.8%
of Australia’s trade in 2007-08.
Aid from Australia is used to promote good
governance and reduce political instability in
our nearest neighbours. This reduces the
threat of civil unrest and the growth of terrorist
networks in the region. E.g. work in Indonesia.
Since Bali Bombings Australia has
devoted funds to help combat terrorism
in the region.
Some governments receiving aid may be
corrupt or authoritarian (e.g. Burma) and use
the money for personal benefit rather than
helping those in need. This is why Pakistan is
calling in international auditors to manage the
flow of aid money for the flood victims.
Human Rights abuses in Burma
(forced labour camps)
Aid may make some countries reliant on
funds for development and this may hinder the
growth of domestic industries. It may also
hinder the emergence of entrepreneurial talent
that would foster economic growth.
How would you feel?
Australia’s aid money could be spent elsewhere
within the domestic economy. This was an
argument proposed recently by Senator
Barnaby Joyce. However, Australia’s current aid
contribution is around 0.4% of GDP. This is
below the 0.7% committed by Australia in its
international treaty obligations.
Aid is often wasted due to conditions placed on
the recipient country. E.g. they must use
overpriced goods and services from the
donor countries. Also, most aid does not
actually go to the poorest who would need it
– its is often taken up by administrative and
marketing costs. This is called phantom aid.
Aid money amounts are small in comparison
to the costs from an unfair global trading
system. Poor countries are often denied
market access, while rich nations use aid as a
lever to open poor country markets to their
business. Eg TNCs
Barnaby Joyce
Rwanda president
Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision, appeared
on the 7pm Project to talk about the Pakistan
floods and the response from the rest of the
7pm Project

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