Tim Wilson, writing in today’s Australian, takes aim at Australia’s ever-expanding taxpayer-funded foreign-aid budget for propping up radical left-wing activists that go against Australia’s interests:
In the Rudd government’s first budget, aid funding was already $3.8 billion and has grown to $5.2bn this year.
Based on projections in this year’s budget, total spending on aid is intended to continue growing to about $7.5bn, or 0.5 per cent of gross national income, by 2016-17. That commitment is bipartisan.
In the same timeframe NGOs have seen their share of dedicated aid funding more than double from at least $40 million to $112m, and are now responsible for delivering more than 10 per cent of Australia’s aid program.
According to NGO annual reports, some have received nearly $40m in one year alone across multiple aid programs…
While virtually all foreign aid has been proven wasteful and totally ineffective in achieving its goals, and cases of embezzlement are revealed regularly, the funding of these NGO’s is especially problematic due to their blatant political nature.
For instance, as Tim Wilson notes in 2008 and 2009 the Australian Conservation Foundation received a total of $200,000 in taxpayer funds from Australia’s program, and in the 2010 and 2011 financial years the World Wildlife Fund Australia collected $400,000. Funds which are then used to advance a political agenda:
As a recipient of aid funding the ACF was also involved in the Say Yes! Coalition with Greenpeace and GetUp! to provide political support for the Gillard government’s introduction of the carbon tax.
Worse, in some cases aid-funded NGOs are engaged in political activity that undermines the objectives of Australia’s aid program to promote sustainable economic development.
At earlier stages of economic development, countries are required to exploit their natural resources as they make the leap from a subsistence economy to manufacturing and eventually a service-based economy.
There are constant efforts by aid-funded NGOs against the development of export-focused primary industries in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.
Targets have included their forestry and mining and agriculture sectors.
These efforts have been coupled with campaigns by the same groups targeting consumers and businesses to stop using developing world exports, as well as the erection of trade barriers.
A recent example includes efforts to target KFC to stop using Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil in their frying and forestry products in their packaging.
There is no justification whatsoever for Australian taxpayers to subsidise political activists such as these NGO’s, whose actions harm not only Australia’s interests, but also damage the countries they are working in.
This is yet another reason why foreign aid should not just be “paused”, but should be radically, radically slashed.