18 Dec 2014

Greens say Australia robbing neighbours

8:16 pm on 18 December 2014

Australia's Greens say more aid cuts announced this week mean Australia is effectively robbing its neighbours.

Canberra has shaved a further three billion US dollars from its aid budget, which the Greens say is insulting to its neighbours.

The party's spokesperson on aid, Senator Lee Rhiannon, says Australia's aid programme accounts for 1.4 per cent of the federal budget but is reduced by 20 percent.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

She says the climate change pressures in the Pacific are caused by massive greenhouse emissions from countries like Australia, which should be pulling its weight.

"It's insulting at any time when one should be working to reduce the gap between rich and poor. And when you consider the challenge of natural disasters that many of these people face and now the problems of climate change, Australia is not being a good neighbour in the Indo-Pacific and Asia region."

Senator Rhiannon says previous aid cuts have interrupted sanitation and health programmes in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

She says to have village projects halted half way through completion is wrong, leaving many Australians ashamed about how the government is operating.