Australia is one of the richest nations in the world, at arguably the richest point in our history. Yet our commitment to foreign aid is declining. The Coalition government plans to cut aid funding by $1.4 billion per year or 33 per cent by 2017-18.
To put our aid budget in perspective, however, we need to consider it as a portion of our Gross National Income (GNI). This allows us to measure how generous we are and compare our current aid budget with previous years and other countries.
By this measure, our aid budget has hit its lowest level since 1974, when our official overseas development assistance (ODA) program began. In 1974 we allocated 0.45 per cent of our income to aid, now it is just 0.22 per cent. Long gone is the Howard era bipartisan support for the Millennium Development Goals, and their target of 0.7 per cent of ODA/GNI.