Australian federal budget falls flat in tackling inequality: Oxfam

Oxfam Australia

In response to the 2024 federal budget, Oxfam Australia Interim Director of Programs Rod Goodbun said:

“In a time of unprecedented global crises, conflict, and rising inequality, the Australian Government’s federal budget lacks ambition to truly tackle inequality at home and abroad.

“The decision to keep aid and humanitarian funding at historically low levels this budget is a missed opportunity. International aid saves lives and is critical to the peace, stability and prosperity of our region.

“Despite modest funding increases in this budget, Australia’s Official Development Assistance remains at the record low of 19 cents in every $100 in income. This is well below the 70 cents per $100 international target agreed by wealthy countries, including Australia, and the Labor Party Platform goal of 50 cents per $100 of income.

“The number of people on the brink of famine has almost doubled since last year, many of whom are in Gaza, where children are already dying of malnutrition and disease. The climate crisis rages on as Australian fossil fuel corporations continue to pollute and profit without end, leaving millions in Australia and low-income countries facing worsening climate disasters, with less support to prepare and recover. We need a budget that can help address these key global challenges.

“Earlier this year, we welcomed the Australian government’s changes to the stage 3 tax cuts to enhance their fairness and channel more of the cuts towards those on middle and lower incomes. These measures go some way to address the relentless surge in the cost of living, with families contending with skyrocketing food, fuel and energy prices and being forced to go without.

“While this budget has provided some further relief for those in the community doing it tough, it does not go far enough to address growing inequality both at home and abroad. Companies owned by Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest billionaire, received over $1 billion in finance for mining projects this budget, while desperately needed increases to international aid and JobSeeker to raise 3 million people out of poverty in Australia are ignored.

“We need a bigger revenue base to reduce poverty and invest in public services, like healthcare and education, as well as helping to build a safe and prosperous region. If the Australian Government is serious about addressing inequality long-term, it must implement a systemic and wide-ranging increase in taxation of the super-rich, in line with increasing momentum on this at the UN and G20 this year.

/Public Release.