A slight majority of Australians support slashing the aid budget by $1 billion this year, a new poll has found.
Only 35 per cent were against the move, with 53 per cent in favour, Lowy Institute pollsters found.
“This poll, combined with Lowy Institute polling earlier this year, suggests that few Australian adults see the government’s current aid budget as inadequate,” the institute reported in a statement.
The “disappointing” results were reflective of general public misunderstanding about the importance of life-saving work Australia does in developing countries, said an aid advocate
“It’s one of the best things Australia does on the world stage,” Campaign for Australian Aid spokesman Adam Valvasori said.
Since coming to power, the Abbott government has cut foreign aid by a total of $11.3 billion.
This year’s budget reduced aid by 20 per cent over the coming financial year – the biggest single-year cut in the nation’s history.
As a result, Australia’s aid will drop to 0.22 per cent of national income as a result of this budget, well below the United Nation’s goal of 0.7 per cent.
“If this budget is a test of fairness, it totally fails the poorest in the world,” World Vision chief Tim Costello said at the time.
People aged under 30 were more likely to oppose the cuts, the poll found.
Some of the regions that suffered the worst cuts in the budget were Africa (-$93 million) and the countries of Indonesia (-$238.9 million) and recently earthquake-devastated Nepal (-$7.1 million).