The region reacts on aid cuts and the new PM

Leaders around the Asia-Pacific have congratulated Australia’s Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott.

But last week’s announcement that the Coalition government would seek to cut aid has ruffled some feathers.

Indonesia is one country where the proposed cuts have been strongly criticised.

“We do rely a lot on Australian aid and it has done a lot of good in terms of improving relations,” editor of Tempo, Yuli Ismartono, told Radio Australia.

“As he… slashes aid to Indonesia, the impression that people have is of a government that is only concerned and focused on business and making money, and less on developing people capital.”

PNG government sources have told AAP that they believed the change of government in Australia would only result in ‘tinkering around the margins’ of existing aid and asylum-seeker processing agreements.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said on Friday that cuts to aid would place more strain on small Pacific countries. The TEAR Fund NGO has spoken out against the cuts as it believes it will not only place more strain on the Pacific, but that the NZ aid program will be left to fill the shortfall.

Meanwhile, in an opinion piece for the Guardian, ODI researcher Lisa Denney has called for Abbott to consider the impact of aid cuts to “Australia’s reputation as a good international citizen that adheres to long-standing commitments, and to good aid practice.”

Church leaders in Australia have also spoken out against the plan.

Read more of our analysis on the new government and aid here.

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Ashlee Betteridge

Ashlee Betteridge is the Manager at the Development Policy Centre. She was previously a Research Officer at the centre from 2013-2017. A former journalist, she holds a Master of Public Policy (Development Policy) from ANU and has development experience in Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

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