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Australia’s Sustainable Development Goals needs “concrete roadmaps”

Charity bodies have welcomed Australia’s Sustainable Development Goals report card but says there’s more to be done before 2030

Leading charity bodies have responded to Australia’s plan to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), saying the government needs to implement “concrete roadmaps.”

CEO of the Australian Council for International Development (ACID), Marc Purcell, responded saying it was a significant milestone for Australia’s implementation of the SDG, but added that the country could be doing more to achieve the goals before 2030.

“Australia is performing poorly against the environmental goals and targets,” Purcell said. “Economic growth cannot continue to be tied to environmental degradation. Our greatest assets like the Murray-Darling Basin and the Great Barrier Reef are in crisis.”

Purcell added that Australia urgently needs intervention to protect the environment and to create affordable, reliable and clean energy for the future – plans of which were made in their 13 recommendations to significantly accelerate progress of the SDGs.

In the Voluntary National Review (VNR) of Australia’s most pressing concerns, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the Review “represents every part of Australian society” and that there were challenges and issues where more could be done.

The report listed several challenges that Australia needs to address, including ending poverty and food inequality, implementing good health and quality education, ensuring gender equality and making cities and communities sustainable by 2030.

In the VRN, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, and Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, said Australia has recognised the need to manage the environment and the economy sustainably.

“As we look to the fast-approaching milestone of 2030, we are facing a much more complex development context. We need to support and build nations, regions and communities that are sustainable, resilient and more inconclusive.”

World Vision Australia CEO, Claire Rogers, also welcomed the report card but called for the government to commit to a national plan to see the goals through, adding the SDGs “aim to leave no-one behind, and to reach those who are furthest behind”.

“In this landmark report it’s clear that Australia’s made a good start, but to achieve this transformative agenda by 2030 we need a concrete roadmap with practical actions and timelines,” Rogers said. “We should follow the example countries like China, Germany and Denmark who have these plans.”

Purcell said the “comprehensive action is long overdue” and that “we should not be imposing the burden of our failure to act on the next generation.”

Speaking of when Bishop agreed that Australia needs a bigger aid budget, Purcell added: “We are now calling on the government and the opposition to announce an election commitment to increase aid to help attain the SDGs.”

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