Tim Costello welcomes Morrison government ‘stepping back up’ in South-East Asia
The Morrison Government’s $550 million package for South-East Asia is proof of Australia’s renewed commitment to the region.
Reverend Tim Costello, Executive Director of Micah Australia, said the announcement of significant new funding to improve health, governance and infrastructure in South-East Asia heralded what he hopes will be a new era of re-engaged Australian leadership in the region.
“After years of ‘stepping down’ with cuts to our aid budget across the region, Australia’s commitment to provide strong support to South-East Asia is both humanitarian and strategic,” Reverend Costello said.
“This investment demonstrates Australia is a neighbour that cares, and one committed to seeing our region prosperous and peaceful.
“The Morrison government is to be congratulated for taking decisive action in the face of a global crisis. This is an important act of regional leadership at a time of significant need.”
Reverend Costello said the development package came as COVID-19 threatened economic prosperity and stability. The pandemic has pushed almost 37 million people below the US$1.90 a day extreme poverty line. This number is expected to surpass 70 million by the end of 2020.
“The health impact of COVID-19 is well understood, but what we also need to be keenly aware of is the extreme poverty the pandemic has brought.
“COVID-19 demands both a health and economic response – by supporting our neighbours we are securing our fastest possible recovery and ultimately a shared prosperous post-pandemic future.”