“WEL welcomes the Albanese Government’s commitment in the Women’s Budget Statement to setting an agenda to drive change. The establishment of a Ministerial Council on Women and Women’s Safety reporting directly to National Cabinet is a good sign. WEL hopes this heralds a new era that will make Australia a global leader in gender equality,” said WEL’s National Convenor, Jozefa Sobski
“Much more is promised in this first budget and Election promises are kept. The investment in early childhood education of $4.7 billion over four years will make child care more affordable. But, the sector needs urgent review to determine what contributes to continuing rising costs. The increased government investment must improve wages and salaries of workers as well as affordability for parents.”
WEL acknowledges the staged boost to paid parental leave to 26 weeks by July, 2026, but this is still leave at a minimum wage without superannuation. “WEL believes that Australia should be aiming towards the OECD average of 12 months paid parental leave shared by parents.”
“There is no new money for Women’s Safety, but an undertaking to improve the quality of spending with theabandonment of some measures from the old government. There is funding of $169.4 million over four years for 500 community workers, as promised. These workers will increase support for women and children experiencing family, domestic and sexual violence. WEL believes much more is needed than what was in the ALP election undertaking of $1.3 billion if the ambitions of the new National Plan to End Violence against Women are to be achieved,” said Ms Sobski.
WEL acknowledges that the new Housing Australia Future Fund will address crisis and transitional housing for women and children leaving domestic and family violence and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness with $100 million allocated in the first five years. The Fund will also make available $1.6 billion to support long term housing for these women with an estimated 4,000 social housing properties to be constructed.
“WEL has lobbied governments for the past decade to increase their investment in social and affordable housing. No woman and her children fleeing violence should be turned away from any specialist service in Australia,” said Ms Sobski. “These initiatives will make a difference, but they will not dissolve the queues on public housing lists. That requires more imaginative measures and braver funding decisions by governments across Australia.”
WEL hopes that this first budget will lead to gender responsive budgeting that captures how programs and policies impact on women and men and address structural and systemic inequalities in Australian society and its economy.
CONTACT: Jozefa Sobski 0403 895929
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