AU: Countdown to Tax Day

listen to - something different! podcast on goodpods

In response to the recent federal budget, influential figures within the aid sector and Peter Singer’s charity, The Life You Can Save, are urging both the government and philanthropists to take action and help bridge Australia’s foreign aid shortfall.
Louise Pfeiffer, Director of Philanthropy at The Life You Can Save, and Simon Lewis from the Australian International Development Network (AIDN), express concern over the 31 percent decrease in Australia’s foreign aid budget over the past decade, coinciding with an increase in climate-induced disasters in developing nations.
Pfeiffer highlights the decline in Australia’s ranking among OECD nations, stating that two decades ago, Australia was one of the top nine foreign aid donors, whereas now it sits among the bottom four. Disappointingly, the federal budget fails to bring the country closer to the United Nations foreign aid target of 0.7 percent of Gross National Income (GNI). Pfeiffer emphasizes that instead of progress, Australia has regressed significantly, with the foreign aid commitment dropping to 0.19 percent of GNI, compared to Labor’s pledge of 0.5 percent just three years ago.
While Pfeiffer and Lewis call for the federal Labor government to honor its previous commitments, they also implore philanthropic organizations to contribute funds to life-saving projects and programs abroad, especially in the face of devastating climate change impacts on developing economies. The Horn of Africa, for instance, has experienced six consecutive failed rainy seasons, resulting in failed crops, 1.9 million livestock deaths, mass displacement, and a looming crisis of poverty, starvation, and disease. These circumstances place immense strain on already stretched aid resources in the region.
A recent World Bank report highlights a global development crisis, compounded by a challenging macroeconomic environment and escalating climate change effects. Those living in poverty are disproportionately affected by the increasing frequency of natural disasters, with developing countries often ill-equipped to prepare for or cope with such calamities. Australia, ranking 9th in greenhouse gas emissions per capita, bears significant responsibility for the damage inflicted on agrarian-based economies and developing nations due to its contribution to global emissions asserts Lewis.
While acknowledging the commitment towards Pacific nations, Pfeiffer and Lewis stress the need to address rising sea levels, mudslides, devastating floods, and critical health issues like malaria and pneumonia on a scale commensurate with the challenge at hand.
Pfeiffer cites the invaluable impact of nonprofits like the Save Lives Fund in tackling preventable diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia. These diseases claim the lives of approximately 14,000 children under the age of five days, but cost-effective interventions such as mosquito nets and vaccines can significantly reduce this figure. While a considerable portion of philanthropic funds, approximately 88 percent, is directed towards national projects, Pfeiffer and Lewis emphasize the significant difference Australian dollars can make overseas.
Pfeiffer concludes by highlighting the transformative power of donating to individuals living in extreme poverty. Even a single donation equivalent to the cost of training one guide dog in Australia can prevent blindness in over 300 people. The call to action extends to established philanthropists to support more overseas projects while also encouraging individuals from all walks of life to embark on their giving journey, regardless of whether they can contribute $10 or $10,000.

Leave a Reply