Small increase to aid welcome, but funding still sits at a historic low

Global women’s rights organisation ActionAid has welcomed the modest increase to the aid budget in the 2023-24 Federal Budget. However, aid funding remains vastly inadequate to respond to growing need across our region.


The lack of new targeted gender equality funding and international climate finance is particularly disappointing given rising gender inequality and the worsening impacts of climate change on women and girls across the globe.   

Despite the nominal aid increases announced in the 2023-24 budget, at 0.19 percent of Gross National Income (GNI) Australian aid is sitting at a historic low. Aid funding remains significantly below the Government’s commitment of reaching 0.5 percent of GNI and our international obligation of 0.7% of GNI.  

ActionAid welcomes the additional $3.5 million Inclusion and Equality Fund to support LGBTQIA+ organisations to catalyse change in their communities. The reference to the forthcoming gender equality strategy is also welcome. ActionAid looks forward to a significant increase in targeted gender equality funding to support the implementation of this strategy over the coming years.  

“For women and girls from the most marginalised communities, poverty and gender inequality is rising at an alarming rate. The Government must urgently commit to increasing gender equality funding to avoid further deterioration of women’s rights,” said ActionAid Australia’s Executive Director Michelle Higelin.  

ActionAid Executive Director Michelle Higelin noted that the absence of new and additional climate finance funding in the 2023-24 budget was a missed opportunity for Australia to demonstrate its commitment to progressive climate action.  

“At COP27, Australia alongside other nations made a commitment to establish a Loss and Damage Fund to address the impacts of climate-induced disasters and slow-onset events in the world’s most vulnerable communities. However, unless wealthy governments step up with new and additional funding, women and girls in the world’s poorest communities will continue to bear the brunt of a rapid escalating climate crisis they did little to cause,” said Michelle Higelin.  

With the Government’s new international development policy set for imminent release, any genuine rebuilding of the development program will require a significant and sustained increase in aid funding.