The Australian Conservatives have long argued for deep cuts to be made to Australia’s foreign aid programs and at last the Federal Government seems to be listening.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports, Minister for International Development and the Pacific Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has told an overseas audience, after being repeatedly asked about Australia's cuts to foreign aid, that eighty per cent of Australians do not support any further spending on foreign aid.
The minister revealed the government polling as she called for Britain to partner on infrastructure development in the Pacific.
The issue has been back in the spotlight following Fairfax Media's revelations last week that China wants to build a military base in Vanuatu.
During an appearance at the Overseas Development Institute on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, Senator Fierravanti-Wells said the aid budget would be fixed at $4 billion for the next two years and would not be increased until the "economy was back on a sustainable footing." Even then, she signalled it could be politically difficult to increase aid spending because the issue had become "one of taking your public with you".
"In Australia we had some research done where it showed that about 80 per cent of Australians believe that we should not be spending more on foreign aid," the minister said.
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