2022 Aid Budget Response: Increased funding for gender equality welcome, but Australia must do more to stem rising global

Global women’s rights organisation, ActionAid welcomes the increase in gender equality funding in the 2022 Federal Budget, including the new $300 million Women Together package to support gender equality in Southeast Asia. The additional temporary support for COVID-19 responses across the Pacific region is also welcomed, but ActionAid warns that a significant and sustained increase to the aid budget is needed to stem the alarming rise in poverty and gender inequality globally. 


Michelle Higelin, Executive Director for ActionAid Australia says: 

“Gender equality has reversed by at least a decade in the two years since COVID-19 began. ActionAid welcomes the increase in gender equality funding from $1.3b in 2021-22 to $1.5b in 2022-23 aid budget. The new $300m in funding over 5-years for the Women Together initiative to support gender equality in Southeast Asia is also crucial in stemming a further deterioration in women’s rights across our region.” 

“The reinstatement of indexation in the aid budget and the new temporary COVID-19 support package for the Pacific and Timor-Leste are also welcomed. However, despite these measures, the aid budget is still sitting at only 0.21 percent of Gross National Income [1], well below the OECD Development Assistance Committee average of 0.32 percent [2].” 

“It is also concerning that amidst the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and the first increase in extreme poverty in 30 years, Australian aid, including additional temporary measures, is set to decline over forward estimates as the reduction in targeted and temporary support counteracts indexation increases.”    

“Australia must commit to a significant and permanent increase to the aid budget in line with our international obligations and urgent global need.” 

“The failure to substantially lift Australia’s international climate finance contributions is alarming. Women and girls in low-income countries are battling the daily realities of a rapidly escalating climate crisis – more frequent and severe cyclones, rising food and water insecurity.” 

“With the climate crisis already fuelling one of the worst droughts on record across the Horn of Africa, more intense cyclones in the Asia-Pacific and driving food insecurity in Afghanistan, a rapid mobilisation of resources and financing is crucial to ensure that low-income countries can adapt to the worsening impacts of climate change. Yet, at $2 billion over 2020-2025, Australia’s climate finance commitment remains well below our fair share of what’s needed globally to support our Pacific neighbours and other countries to respond to climate change.[3]” 

“Low-income countries are battling the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the escalating climate crisis and rising insecurity and conflict – the need for additional and sustained aid and climate finance could not be more urgent. Australian can and must do more to respond to worsening poverty, gender inequality and insecurity.” 

“If wealthy countries like Australia fail to step up, it is the world’s poorest communities that will continue to pay the price for crises they did not cause.” 


Notes to editor 

[1] Total Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), including the temporary and targeted COVID-19 measures, for the 2022-23 federal budget is $4.549 billion. 

[2] See Australian National University (2021) Australian Aid Tracker, Development Policy Centre, https://devpolicy.org/aidtracker/comparisons/  

[3] ActionAid’s report Fairer Futures: Financing Global Climate Solutions, released in 2021, estimates that Australia’s fair share of international climate finance will reach $12 billion annually by 2030.  


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