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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Australian Govt to delay foreign aid boost

The federal government has reportedly put off its commitment to increase overseas aid to save nearly $3 billion.

One charity group has slammed the decision, saying it would come at the cost of 200,000 lives.

The government had committed to boost foreign aid to 0.5 per cent of gross national income by 2015/2016, up from its current level of 0.35 per cent.

But Treasurer Wayne Swan will announce in his budget speech the increase will be delayed by one year, saving an estimated $2.9 billion, a senior Labor source has told Sky News.

World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello says the backdown could cost 200,000 lives.

"It sounds very dramatic, but aid saves lives," Reverend Costello told Sky News, responding to the reports.

Oxfam Australia executive director Andrew Hewett also said the budget measure could have deadly consequences.

"Peoples' lives will be at risk, but it's more a lack of an opportunity to invest in a more stable and prosperous region," he said.

The Australian Greens have slammed the decision. Read More