Women have been acknowledged in the federal budget, with equality in the workplace, safety and healthcare among the winning items.
In Labor’s first federal budget since their election win in May, treasurer Jim Chalmers made it clear that gender equality was a top priority.
“Gender inequality is holding Australia back,” he said in the Women’s Budget Statement.
“Until there is true gender equality, we cannot reach our full potential and be the Australia we want to be.”
Minister for Women, Senator Katy Gallagher, said the government was committed to levelling the playing field for women.
“Women are not an add-on in this budget. They are not a group of people that are nice to consider or include in the budget as a political fix like they have been under the former government,” she said.
“Labor’s first budget delivers on our election commitment to elevate the position of women in Australia through responsible and targeted investments, because we know that policies that are good for women are good for the economy.”
Here are the key wins for women in the 2022 federal budget:
Affordable childcare, more paid parental leave
The budget came out swinging for Australian women from making childcare more affordable, reducing the gender pay gap, making TAFE courses for teenage children affordable or free, increasing paid parental leave to 26 weeks, and spending big on the reduction of domestic violence under the big tent of improving Australian women’s lives.
Although there’s still a long way to go, it is heartening to see that the majority of judges in the High Court are women. The impact of High Court decisions across all Australian groups, industry, business and wellbeing is crucial, and to have a majority female judges on the top court of the land is a great step towards equality.
Female participation in workforce is vital
Australian unemployment is low, but many businesses are faltering without enough ‘hands on deck’.
The treasurer has dedicated $4.7 billion over four years to make childcare more affordable, with the aim to increase workforce participation.
Together with the increase in immigration and expanding paid parental leave to 26 weeks by July 2026, it is crucial for Australian success in times of global recession to provide incentives for women have access to work.
With increasing inflation eating into the family budget, the only way out is to increase the amount of money coming into the family to stay ahead.
The government will provide a $20.2 million investment to establish two new expert panels on Pay Equity and the Care and Community Sector in the Fair Work Commission. This will bolster the Fair Work Commission’s ability to review applications from female-dominated industries whose work is regularly undervalued and underpaid.
There will also be reform to the workplace relations system to make gender equity an objective of the Fair Work Act 2009 and legislate a statutory equal remuneration principle.