Foreign aid has not historically been popular with the Australian public. In 2022, cuts to the aid budget have become less popular. Four in ten (42%) say spending on foreign aid should be kept around current levels, an increase of six points since 2019. A third (34%) continue to say that foreign aid spending should be decreased, representing a 13-point fall since 2019. Around a quarter of Australians (24%) say Australia should increase spending on foreign aid, an increase of seven points since 2019.
While many Australians have been wary of foreign aid in the past, in 2022, Australians are overwhelmingly in favour of Australia providing foreign aid to Pacific Island states. Almost all Australians (93%) are in favour of providing aid for disaster relief. The provision of aid for Covid-19 vaccines also receives high levels of support, with 86% of Australians saying they are in favour. This aligns with attitudes in 2021, where 83% of Australians said Australia should help Pacific countries to pay for Covid-19 vaccines.
There is also strong support for Australia to play a role in building strong economies in the Pacific. Eight in ten Australians (84%) favour providing aid to the Pacific for long-term economic development, and 82% favour providing aid ‘to help prevent China from increasing its influence in the Pacific’. In a different question in 2019, 73% said Australia should try to prevent China from increasing its influence in the Pacific. Three-quarters of Australians (75%) are in favour of providing aid to Pacific Island states for climate change action. The same number (75%) support Australia hosting a UN Climate Conference, which has been floated as a proposal that could involve Australia co-hosting with Pacific Island nations.
12 questions match this theme
Thinking now about the aid the Australian government provides to developing countries. Currently the government provides approximately five billion dollars in aid to developing countries, or around 1.2 per cent of the budget. Do you think this is too high, too low or about right?