Treasurer Scott Morrison has delivered his third Federal Budget for Australia. Here is some more information about the Budget, and what it means for women.
The Budget sets aside funding for a women’s economic security statement to be delivered in September. The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, the Minister for Revenue and Women, told ABC’s AM the government wanted to ensure that women were safe “in their homes, online and in their workplaces”. She said the September statement would “make sure that women have the economic capability, the economic resilience to make choices about their lives”. Read more HERE.
Here is the Women's Budget Snapshot from Minster O'Dwyer.
The following articles provide analysis of the Budget, including interactive tools to select what matters to you.
We know that one of the high priority issues for Australian women is that specialist women's refuges are underfunded, as a result, many women trying to escape domestic violence have nowhere to go. This Budget was an opportunity to provide refuges with funding certainty and reduce the number of women and children living with violence. But there was nothing for those housing services in the Budget, and more women's lives are at risk as a result of government inaction.
General homelessness and affordable housing was another issue on many people's list for the 2018 Budget. National Shelter, a housing policy peak, sees this Budget as a lost opportunity. "This budget shows a lack of long term commitment to affordable housing," said National Shelter CEO Adrian Pisarski.
Here's a run down on the big ticket items for women in this year's Federal Budget from WEL's Emma Davidson, who was in the Budget Lock-up:
- Flattening the tax structure - this will provide much greater savings to people earning $200,000 a year than to those earning $20,000 per year. As women are overrepresented at the bottom end of the income scale, this means it benefits men far more than women, and will likely widen the inequality gap that already disproportionately impacts women.
- Women surviving on welfare will get no help at all from flattening the tax structure, as they aren't even earning enough to pay tax. These women weren't represented in the glossy brochure infographics in the Budget papers.
- $299.3m in welfare debt recovery over 3 years is unlikely to be a realistic estimate if it is based on recovering inaccurate robo-debts.
- Compulsory deductions from Centrelink payments to repay State government fines and debts (eg parking or toll road fines) means more women are likely to end up homeless because there isn't enough left to pay the rent.
- People on Disability Support Pensions who are imprisoned for between 13 weeks and 2 years will now have their payment cancelled and have to reapply for the pension on their release, whereas before they could have their payments suspended and then restart the payments on release. This will likely increase homelessness and recidivism, as they will find it harder to rejoin the community on their release if they have to jump through the hoops to get back on their pension, or find they no longer qualify under the new eligibility rules and are stuck on Newstart despite being unable to work due to their health.
- Measures to encourage older workers to stay in the workforce until age 70 are likely to increase the number of older women in low paid work (as these are the jobs most likely to benefit from the $2,000 wage subsidy for employers) and the gig economy or short term contracts (the Inclusive Entrepeneurship Facilitator program).
- Measures to encourage women in STEM careers are not new. They are mostly rebadged existing programs to encourage girls into STEM subjects at school, with the addition of funding for a report on how to plug the "leaky pipe" of women who leave STEM careers.
- Funding for programs that increase the number of bulk billing GPs in regional and rural Australia will benefit women who find it difficult to access affordable health care.
- Funding for women's health research appears to be targeted towards improving outcomes for social determinants affecting early childhood health. While this is good, we also need funding for women's health research that is not focused on maternity care.
- Mental health funding for after-suicide care will have an impact on women, as there are significant numbers of women who survive suicide attempts. We hope that these mental health care services will take into account the gendered experience of mental health to be effective for women.
- Another $1m funding for endometriosis awareness for GPs will hopefully reduce the average 8 years it takes for a diagnosis.
- There is funding for women who need their vaginal mesh implants removed.