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Lifters, not leaners

It's time for Australia to step up

We have a long way to go until Australia is the responsible global citizen it should be. This September, we're calling on leaders to step up to end extreme poverty. Join us on the Roadtrip today.

Yesterday marked exactly three months since the first Abbott Government’s budget was delivered. Since then it has been widely criticised for its aggressive cost-cutting measures. The single largest reduction was the freezing of Australia’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget, resulting in a cut of nearly A$8 billion dollars over five years.

Australia’s aid budget is falling much shorter than those from other OECD countries. In 2013, the United Kingdom reached the UN-recommended 0.7% target of Gross National Income (GNI) on aid spending, despite being one of the hardest-hit countries by the financial crisis.

Not only is Australia failing in its commitment to the United Nations’ millennium development goals, but it's turning its back on the some of the most vulnerable people in economically disadvantaged countries. For a nation who are supposed to be ‘lifters, not leaners’, we have a long way to go until Australia is the responsible global citizen it should be. 

On Monday night ABC’s Foreign Correspondent ran a story about the Australian Government’s cuts to foreign aid this financial year and the devastating impact this is having on countries who are our closest neighbours. In East Timor, which is an hour’s flight away from Darwin, children are dying from severe malnutrition and diarrhoea. Doctors have called for assistance, saying that the worsening health crisis is causing hundreds of preventable deaths.

For a generation of digital natives who are supposedly glued to their screens and tablets, there’s a growing group of young people who are using their power in a significantly different way. I feel incredibly proud to be one of 1000 young people roadtripping from every capital city in Australia to storm the lawns of Parliament House and petition our leaders to commit to fighting extreme poverty.

The current political climate of conservatism and also the increasing social apathy about the issue of extreme poverty are some the greatest challenges that exist for us right now. It’s exciting because the Roadtrip is about directly facing up to these challenges, and confronting head on the lack of political engagement on the issue.

Australia has a long history of giving generously to those in need, but we have recently faced International scrutiny and criticism about the cuts to foreign aid. Other countries are noticing that Australia is falling behind, and high profile people, such as David Cameron and Bob Geldof, are speaking out.

On the Roadtrip 1000 young people will lead the charge, transforming the way Australians think about issue, and provide them with ways that they can take meaningful action that will create policy change, and make a very real difference in the lives of those living in extreme poverty.

Join the fight. Join me on the Roadtrip today.