Australia urged to end 'foolish' aid cuts to South-east Asia

Indonesia has been one of the worst hit by the cutbacks, with Australian aid more than halving in the past five years from about A$600 million in 2014, adjusted for inflation, to A$299 million in 2019.
Indonesia has been one of the worst hit by the cutbacks, with Australian aid more than halving in the past five years from about A$600 million in 2014, adjusted for inflation, to A$299 million in 2019.PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY - Australia has drastically cut aid to South-east Asia as part of a revamp of its foreign policy priorities, but the move has been criticised by analysts and prompted a rare rebuke from Indonesia.

In the past five years, aid to countries in the region has reportedly been reduced by 42 per cent as the government slashed the total foreign aid budget from A$5.5 billion (S$4.81 billion) to A$4 billion, adjusted for inflation. It has shifted spending from South-east Asia in a bid to counter China's growing influence among the small island states in the Pacific. Aid spending to the Pacific has increased by 17 per cent since 2014.

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