Australia’s aid budget slashes core disability funds
The Federal Government’s cut to disability inclusive development has shocked the Australian Disability and Development Consortium (ADDC).
The peak body, with more than 600 members, has slammed the 25% cut to disability allocation within the Australian aid budget.
“The Australian Government has led on disability inclusive development for more than 10 years, and in recent years they have held this vital budget steady at $12.9 million,” ADDC Executive Officer Lucy Daniel said.
“We are alarmed by this decision, which will have a dramatic effect on the government’s ability to deliver on its commitments to disability inclusion.”
ADDC is seeking urgent clarification on the budget cuts, including whether they also signal further cuts to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) in-house resources to support disability inclusive programming
The Government, on numerous occasions, has publicly reiterated its commitment to the most vulnerable and to an inclusive COVID-19 Australia response and development program. It has consistently recognised the disproportionate vulnerability of people with disabilities to the health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19 and poverty.
Globally, one in seven people have a disability. During COVID-19 people with disabilities have lost their jobs at a much greater rate than those without disabilities. They are experiencing food insecurity and face immense challenges protecting themselves from COVID-19 and accessing healthcare when they need it.
“The disability inclusion budget has provided immense improvements in the lives of people with disabilities in the poorest places, all while representing only 0.3% of the 2019-2020 the overseas development assistance budget,” Ms Daniel said. “To cut this already modest allocation can only be seen to undermine the Government’s commitment to disability inclusion and the most vulnerable.”
Ms Daniel said the government’s own evidence pointed to the achievements of the program of work.
The Office of Development Effectiveness’ (ODE) review of the second Development For All and the mid-term review of the first Development for All both speak to the importance of dedicated and sufficient resourcing to support disability inclusion in Australia’s overseas development work.
“ADDC notes that the ODE cautioned that ongoing investment in this area is required to secure Australia’s hard-won wins and strong standing in disability inclusive development,” Ms Daniel said.
“In these circumstances, we consider that any cuts to the disability inclusion budget – particularly those of the extent outlined in the 2020 Federal Budget – will have grave effects on people with disabilities.”
ADDC has a membership of more than 670 individuals and organisations that support disability and international development matters, including domestic Disabled People’s Organisations, international development agencies, private sector contractors, academics and more.