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ActionAid Australia and Jubilee Australia Research Centre welcome the Australian government’s increased focus on climate change and gender equality in its International Development Policy launched yesterday. However, both organisations urge the government to ensure it does not undermine these efforts by allowing public money to support overseas fossil fuels.

“We welcome the Australian government prioritising climate change and gender equality in the new International Development Policy. The United Nations has highlighted that it will take close to 300 years to achieve gender equality with global challenges like the climate crisis eroding hard won gains in women’s rights. Strong climate action is absolutely essential to realising gender equality,” said Michelle Higelin, Executive Director at ActionAid Australia.

“Australia has committed to accelerate global ambition to address to the climate crisis, however that needs to start at home, with a clear policy commitment to stop financing fossil fuels. Otherwise, efforts to address the climate crisis in the new International Development Policy will be undermined by Australia’s public financing and support to fossil fuels, including through our contributions to multilateral development banks,” Higelin added.

“Jubilee Australia’s Hidden Cash for Fossils report found that since the Paris Climate Agreement, Australia has contributed an estimated $828 million for fossil fuels through its financing of multilateral development banks,” said Shona Hawkes, Climate and Environmental Justice Director at Jubilee Australia Research Centre.

“Most Australians would be shocked to learn that aid money is going towards fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the leading driver of the climate crisis and it is the poorest, most marginalised communities who are bearing the greatest cost”, noted Hawkes.

“We’re calling for the Australian government to join the over 30 countries that have signed onto the Glasgow Statement to end financing to fossil fuels overseas. It’s hard to understand why Australia has failed to take this basic step - given that the UK, US, Germany and even Zambia have signed on.”

Photo attribution: Siegfried Poepperl, 2021