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BUDGET ANNOUNCEMENT: Spend on Communities, Not Corporations

03/15/2016: The Government’s belated action on multinational tax avoidance and the cuts to the aid program show that Australia’s allegiance is to companies, not communities, ActionAid Australia’s CEO, Archie Law, said this evening. 

“The measures the Government has taken to stop multinational tax avoidance are baby steps in the right direction, but their failure to allocate the money they’ll recover towards restoring the aid program is bitterly disappointing. 

“Decades of multinational tax avoidance have left the Government empty-pocketed, and its everyday Australians and the communities we support with our aid program who have paid the price. 

“Over the last couple of years, the Government has slashed aid funding and basic public services like health and education in order to cover the billions of dollars that the 1% have robbed from the Australian public. 

“Now that they’re finally taking action, it’s critical that they make up for the losses and restore the funding they’ve cut in previous years. We should be supporting communities, not corporations.” 

Archie Law says that it’s time for the Government to take its international obligations seriously, and to commit the funding required to ensure its commitments are met. 

“It doesn’t seem this government is even listening to itself, let alone its people,” said ActionAid Australia Executive Director Archie Law. “You’ve got one hand signing up to major international aid and climate change agreements, and the other hand willingly frittering the money needed to meet these obligations away.” 

To restore Australia’s reputation as front-runners in women’s rights, poverty reduction and environmental action, ActionAid Australia calls for a return to a $5.5bn aid budget in the coming parliamentary term; and merciless commitment to a crackdown on multinational tax dodgers. 

ActionAid is also calling for a fairer domestic tax system that promotes equality, especially for women on lower incomes. At present, the richest 20% of Australians have five times more income and 70 times more wealth than the least well-off. 

Australia is one of the richest countries in the world, yet now we’re one of the least generous, concluded Archie Law. “Things have to turn around fast if we’re to live up to our international obligations promised at the United Nations last year, like the Sustainable Development Goal on women’s empowerment, or the Paris Climate Change Agreement. And we have to strive once again for equality in our own country.” 

“This fudge-it budget is symptomatic of a relentless and disturbing pattern,” he added. “Australians, and the communities we support around the world, deserve better.”

Editors' notes

For more information, contact Holly Miller, Head of Communications, ActionAid Australia:

Tel: +61 (0)432 781 294