Australia’s Aid Program

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Australia’s aid budget has been significantly reduced in the last few years. The 2017 Poll repeated a question first asked in 2015 about the amount of aid Australia gives to developing countries.

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Australia’s Aid Budget

In 2017, Australians appear to be largely unconcerned by reductions in the amount the Australian Government gives in overseas aid. Between 2014 and 2016, Australia’s aid budget was cut from $5 billion to $4 billion, and now sits at approximately $3.8 billion per annum. When we asked Australians in May 2015 about the first major budget cut of $1 billion, a majority (53%) were in favour, with 35% against. In our March fieldwork two months earlier, before the budget cut was announced, 77% of Australians had said the aid budget of $5 billion was either ‘too much’ or ‘about the right amount’. Only 21% said it was ‘not enough’.

Even though the aid budget is now around 25% smaller than it was in 2015,

Australians have given almost identical responses to the same question this year: 73% say the current aid budget of approximately $3.8 billion is either ‘about the right amount’ or ‘too much’. Just 22% say the budget is ‘not enough’.

Our polling in the past has found that Australians dramatically overestimate how much money the federal government spends on foreign aid, guessing on average in 2011 that 16% of the budget is spent on aid, when the actual amount at that time was 1.3%. On average, Australians said in 2011 that 12% of the federal budget should be spent on foreign aid.8

The aid budget in 2017 is around 0.8% of the federal budget.

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Aid Budget

Thinking now about the aid the Australian government provides to developing countries.

2017: Currently the government provides approximately $3.8 [three point eight] billion dollars in aid to developing countries, or around 0.8 [nought point eight] per cent of the Budget.

2015: Currently the government provides approximately $5 [five] billion dollars in aid to developing countries, or around 1.2 [one point two] per cent of the Budget.

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