I just found this handy nugget of information on the AusAid website:

How much Australia spends

In 2008-2009 Australia will provide $3.7 billion worth of official development assistance.

All Australians contribute to Australia’s aid program. Every week, each of us puts in around $2.40 to pay for our aid program – about the cost of a loaf of bread a week. This amounts to around 1% of Federal Government expenditure compared to the 42% spent on social security and welfare.

The ratio of Australia’s aid to Gross National Income (GNI) for 2008-09 is estimated at 0.32 per cent, an increase from 0.30 per cent in 2007-08.

.32%.  In 1970, we committed to giving 0.7% of our GDP to Foreign Aid by the mid-70s, along with most other developed nations, by the mid-70s.  It never happened.  Only FIVE countries in the world met that commitment in 2007. The US gave .16%.

So here’s the deal.  Right now, I’m committing the meet my share of the 0.7%.  I did the maths, and if $2.40 a week is .3%, then $5.60 is 0.7%.  The gap is $3.20.  So, right now, I am setting up a weekly donation to the UN World Food program for $3.20.  And you know what?  I have a larger share of the tax burden then most, so I’m going to cover a couple of kids or uni students who don’t earn anything- lets just round it up to $10 total.

$10 a week. That really isn’t a lot of money.  Three coffees, half a movie, 2/3 of an album on iTunes.

So why not do the same?  Commit to meeting your share.  The government isn’t doing enough, that is true.  So lets do more ourselves.

Then, lets TELL them they aren’t doing enough.  Write to your local representative.  Urge them to think about the importance of the millennium development goals and how much we give in aid toward them.

I know this blog is rapidly becoming an aid blog.  But, really, this stuff is too important to ignore.  People are dying.  As many children die every year from preventable water diseases as people died in the holocaust.  And we are letting this happen.

Cross-posted to Live Rich: Live Poor.

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