18 Dec 2014

Australian aid cuts immoral - NGO

12:43 pm on 18 December 2014

The head of World Vision Australia says recent aid cuts by the Australian government are immoral, absolutely historic in their devastation and will cost lives.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Tim Costello says the government cutting a further three billion US dollars from its foreign aid budget, in addition to cuts announced in May of seven billion US dollars, leaves the work of non-government organisations like World Vision in tatters.

He says development in regions like the Pacific depends on the predictability of aid and arbitrary cuts mean programmes are likely to be pulled, costing lives and causing human suffering.

Mr Costello says the conservative government is using the aid budget like an automatic teller machine to try and balance the books and because the cuts are so massive, they are likely to be across the board.

"They haven't been specific. And these cuts, you know 7.5 billion and 3.7 [billion] are over the next three years. So I guess in their minds they figure we've made the announcement now we'll work out where we'll cut. So at every level I and so many of the other agencies believe this is immoral."

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs