Over the past thirty years we have witnessed unprecedented progress in reducingpoverty and improving the health and livelihoods of people around the world.Yet over one billion people still live in extreme poverty. Every day, 22,000 childrenunder the age of five die from preventable or treatable conditions that have largelybeen overcome in Australia and almost 1,000 women and girls die in pregnancy andchildbirth. Today, some 67 million children don’t have the opportunity to attendprimary school. These statistics are unacceptable.Reducing poverty is also in our national security and national economic interest.Poverty breeds instability and extremism in our region and globally, and createsconditions that lead to more refugees, as people flee from violence or hardship. Twothirds of the world’s poor live in Australia’s region — of our twenty nearestneighbours, eighteen are developing countries. Many of these countries are alsoimportant trading partners. We export around $90 billion in goods and services to thecountries where Australian bilateral aid is delivered.It is for these humanitarian, national security and economic reasons that theGovernment is committed to increasing our aid to 0.5 per cent of our gross nationalincome by 2015-16.I’m committed to delivering efficient and effective aid. We have already made a start.A recently concluded review will see the number of overseas advisers in the aidprogram decrease by 25 per cent over the next two years with funds freed up tosupport more health and education services.To ensure that our aid program can be even better, in November 2010 I established theIndependent Review of Aid Effectiveness. Put simply, we want to save as many lives,educate as many children and lift as many people out of poverty as we can with ouraid investment. The Government will make a formal response to the Review in themiddle of the year.Our aid is achieving results and saving lives. Since 2009 we have helped immunise900,000 children in Papua New Guinea against measles and other diseases, and oursupport for a global vaccine initiative has helped immunise 288 million childrenworldwide and prevented an estimated 5.4 million deaths. We have helped halvemalaria rates in Solomon Islands. Over the past five years we have created places for330,000 poor children to go to school in Indonesia and will create another300,000 places over the next five years. Since 2009 in Indonesia, East Timor, Vietnamand Solomon Islands, we have provided safe water to 600,000 people and improvedsanitation to 400,000 people. Last year we provided life saving assistance for overthirty humanitarian emergencies, including the Pakistan floods where Australianassistance directly benefited 1.65 million people in need.