Author Topic: Millions of dollars in foreign aid to be channelled into the live cattle export  (Read 1935 times)

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Anger as green projects slashed, funds diverted to help cattle exports  Australia has all but dumped $75 million worth of projects regrowing forests in the developing world and shelved a $100 million forest carbon partnership with Indonesia.

Simultaneously, millions of dollars in foreign aid will be channelled into the live cattle export trade, sparking claims by the Greens that aid money is being misused to help the embattled industry.
     CATTLEClaims of misused aid money: Millions of dollars in foreign aid will be channelled into the live export trade. Photo: Peter Braig

Australia's contribution to global environment programs will drop from $74.1 million in 2012-13 to just $1.5 million next year, the budget papers reveal.

As part of previous international agreements on  climate change, $55 million is being spent this year on reversing forest degradation and deforestation.

The Global Crop Diversity Trust, which preserves plant species in 80 countries, and the International Tropical Timber Organisation, which targets illegal logging, will share in the  $1.5 million budget.

Aid/Watch spokesman  James Goodman said it was a sign of ''bad faith'' for Australia's contribution to fall so dramatically even if other countries were backing away from climate change funding and a new global deal was yet to be brokered. ''Australia has the capacity to help others and we should,'' he said.

Dr Goodman said funding for the ''forest carbon partnership'', signed by former prime minister Kevin Rudd and his Indonesian counterpart in 2008, had  disappeared from the budget.

According to AusAID, part of the program  which has raised 2.6 million seedlings to plant has been discontinued and others are under review.

An AusAID spokeswoman said Australia's commitment to climate change assistance and environment projects  remained  strong, saying the $74.1 million spent this year was always planned to be ''non-ongoing''.

Climate-related aid will be $600 million in 2013-14, including $23 million for coastal ecosystems in Vietnam.

But questions have been raised about the awarding of $10.2 million in funds earmarked for foreign aid to animal welfare spending by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Australia's live export industry had called for a percentage of Australia's foreign aid budget in Indonesia to upgrade the live-export supply chain, following the first of a series of scandals over the mistreatment of Australian cattle in foreign abattoirs.

Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said the animal export trade had no place in foreign aid spending. ''Australians expect foreign aid to be spent alleviating poverty in low-income countries. This funding is clearly not.''

A spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Bob Carr said: ''Improving the capacity of the agriculture sector is good for the economy.''May 18, 2013

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