Sydney (dpa) – Australia will slash its foreign aid by 1 billion Australian dollars (796 million US dollars), according to the budget announced by Treasurer Joe Hockey Tuesday.
The government will also boost spending on national security by about the same amount, including a new Border Force Agency, increased spending on fighting terrorism at home and a scheme to store metadata on people for up to two years.
Australian training of Iraqi soldiers in the war against Islamic State jihadists will cost about 597 million dollars.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said aid for Pacific nations will be maintained. Financial assistance to Nauru and Papua New Guinea, which have Australia’s detention centres for illegal immigrants, and Cambodia, which has agreed to resettle refugees who tried to reach Australia, will continue.
Aid to Africa will be slashed by 70 per cent, the share going to Indonesia will be cut by 40 per cent.
Hockey, who came under pressure job after he failed to get much of last year’s budget adopted by parliament, called the new spending plan “fair.”
“Through careful planning, we are successfully navigating the difficult transition from a mining investment boom to one of broader-based growth right across our economy,” Hockey told the parliamentary session.
“This budget is responsible, measured and fair. We are creating opportunities for job seekers, young and old. We are caring for our most vulnerable. We are keeping the country safe and secure. This is a budget for small business people who want to innovate and grow.”