On Sunday May 3, the Oxfam Australia Brisbane office hosted the launch of the Campaign for Australian Aid in Queensland. 

Brisbane residents participated in workshops throughout the day, learning about success stories of Australia’s aid program, and what they can do to save it. The Campaign for Australian Aid is a joint initiative of the Make Poverty History and Micah Challenge coalitions. More than 50 member organisations – including Oxfam, World Vision, Caritas and the Oaktree Foundation – are working together to ensure the proposed $11 billion in aid cuts do not take place during the upcoming federal budget. A cut of this magnitude would take Australia’s aid contribution to its lowest level in history, and well below the UN Millenium Development Goal of 0.7 per cent.

Last year Australian aid built more than 9,000 new classrooms and enabled over 1.3 million children to enrol in school. It gave 2.9 million people access to safe drinking water and helped support 14 million people effected by humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters.

Make Poverty History Executive Officer and the Campaign for Australian Aid spokesperson, Tony Milne, said like most Australians, the people of Brisbane believe in a fair go for all, including their neighbours living in poor communities, who are working hard to overcome poverty.

“Many residents of West End give to charities and aid organisations personally, and they understand what an enormous difference their contribution can make,” Mr Milne said. “Thanks to Australian Aid, people across the world are breaking down the barriers of poverty that prevent them from realising their potential. But, aid cuts proposed by the Australian Government could prevent millions of people from clearing these hurdles.”

“The Campaign for Australian Aid is a movement of Australians who believe more can and should be done as a nation to end extreme poverty. With the help of Brisbane residents we hope to get the benefits of Australian Aid out into the community and onto the government agenda, putting Australia back on track to giving its fair share,” Mr Milne said.

Words by Emily Dowling