Foreign aid assured

CANBERRA – Australian foreign Minister Julie Bishop is fending off attempts to slow the growth of Australia’s foreign aid as non-profit groups baulk at the idea of cuts to help cover the cost of new security operations.

Ms Bishop insisted there was no plan before cabinet to scale back overseas assistance after The Australian revealed that a pause in growth was a leading option to make up the savings.

“There has been no discussion in cabinet along those lines,” Ms Bishop said when asked about report.

Asked to guarantee aid would not be frozen for another year or two, she said: “We will abide by the commitments we made in relation to foreign aid.”

Tony Abbott said the government had already slowed the growth of foreign aid so it would rise only in line with inflation.