The Fred Hollows Foundation today welcomed The Australian Labor Party’s commitment to rebuilding Australia’s critical aid program, which has seen more than $11.3 billion of cuts under the current Coalition Government.

The ALP National Conference voted to increase aid as a percentage of Gross National Income (GNI) every year starting with its first budget and to reaching at least 0.5 per cent of GNI.

The Fred Hollows Foundation Chairman John Brumby said the announcement was a welcome first step in turning around Australia’s commitment to aid and development.

"Today's announcement is a critical first step in restoring Australia’s aid program to internationally acceptable levels and showing our neighbours that Australia is committed to doing our fair share on the global stage," Mr Brumby said.

"The announcement reaffirms Labor’s commitment to delivering on Australia’s existing commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.

"The Fred Hollows Foundation looks forward to seeing the detail of Labor's election commitments in relation to Australian aid ahead of the next election.

"We also call on the Coalition to reverse its position on raiding the aid budget for other spending. 

"Yesterday the Coalition again demonstrated with its MYEFO announcement that it is putting the world’s poorest people last. It’s time for the Coalition to support Australian aid and offer bipartisan support to this announcement from Labor." 

Mr Brumby said the Government’s position that alleviating global poverty would have to wait until the budget was back in surplus would be hollow without an immediate announcement to increase aid. 

Australia now spends only 21 cents on aid and development for every $100 of income with forward estimates predicting that unless more funding is committed Australia’s aid budget will be at its lowest levels by the 2021-22 financial year at just 19 cents in every $100. 

"Australia can afford to do more and must do more to help some of the poorest people in the world," Mr Brumby said.

"As Fred Hollows said: ‘Just as the quality of humaneness comes from having a concern for the sick, the lame, the blind and the people less fortunate, so too does the humanity of a country, which will be determined by the extent to which it helps countries less fortunate than itself'."