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Coverage of cuts to Australian Volunteer program in 2015 budget

Ashlee analysed the impact of the 30 per cent cut to the Australian Volunteers for International Development in the 2015 Federal Budget on the Devpolicy Blog.

In an analysis piece, she looked at what the cut could mean for the future of the program.

Consolidation seems to be the only logical step. But even then, hard decisions will be needed: fewer volunteers to Asia or fewer to the Pacific? If cost is the criterion – and it is hard to see why it wouldn’t be – the Pacific is bound to lose out.”

Read the full post here.

Ashlee also covered updates on the program post-budget on the blog–see below.

Red Cross no longer sending AVID volunteers
More details on the Australian Volunteers cuts

Combatting the family and sexual violence epidemic in Papua New Guinea: submission to parliamentary inquiry

Screen shot 2014-07-05 at 4.40.11 PMMinister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Julie Bishop MP, asked the human rights subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade to inquire into and report on the human rights issues confronting women and girls in the Indian Ocean – Asia Pacific region.

Given the wide scope of the terms of reference for this inquiry, we focused on addressing the family and sexual violence epidemic in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

This submission was prepared by Ms Ashlee Betteridge, Research Officer at the Development Policy Centre, The Australian National University, and Dr Kamalini Lokuge, Fellow at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University.

Download full submission [pdf].

Read summary of recommendations.

Australian aid and Cambodia’s troubled rail project

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has released a damning Compliance Panel Review (CPR) report of a controversial railway redevelopment project in Cambodia, which was supported by Australian aid.

Activists have long challenged the project’s forced resettlement of thousands of poor families who had made makeshift homes along disused railway tracks, alleging inadequate compensation, threats, harassment, inadequate facilities at resettlement sites and adverse impacts on livelihoods.

The CPR report [pdf], released on Friday, agreed with many of these concerns and found that the project was non-compliant with a number of ADB safeguards.

Read the full story on the Devpolicy Blog.

Policy brief: A parliamentary committee on aid? Issues and options

Screen shot 2013-11-24 at 12.19.28 AMParliamentary committee inquiries into the Australian aid program over the last decade have been few and far between, even as the aid program has grown massively. A parliamentary committee or subcommittee could improve parliamentary oversight of the Australian aid program and deliver a number of benefits.

I co-authored a policy brief with Stephen Howes on this topic for the Development Policy Centre in November 2013.

Download policy brief [pdf].

Read blog post.

SWEDOW cows and rotting apricots: bad food aid proposals gaining support of MPs

Just as the US is pushing to reform its long criticised food aid program, Queensland graziers and Victorian stonefruit growers are calling on the Australian government to purchase and send surplus livestock and agricultural products to developing countries in the name of ‘helping’ – and their idea is being backed by some federal MPs.

Ashlee Betteridge writes on why these suggestions are such a bad idea for aid effectiveness.

Read blog.