Government Budget Makes Do with Modest Initiatives for Women

WEL welcomes the many modest initiatives outlined in the Federal Government’s comprehensive Women’s Budget Statement. “But many other Budget initiatives fall far short in funding adequacy or remain unfunded”, said Jozefa Sobski, National WEL Convenor.

The pre-Budget announcement of the Leaving Violence Program sets a standard for the implementation of the National Plan for the Reduction and Elimination of Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence.  The funding of $925 million for victim-survivors of intimate partner violence will provide much needed financial support at a critical and perilous transition time.

WEL also supports the Government’s allocation of $1 billion on crisis and transitional accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence and on homes for young people, previously set aside for social housing in the National Housing Infrastructure Facility. It is not clear how this allocation will be distributed.

WEL notes that aged care workers, most of whom are women, will be the beneficiaries of the Government’s commitment to fund the decision of the Fair Work Commission to further increase their award wages. For working women, the allocation of $1.1 billion to fund superannuation on government funded paid parental leave is a long time coming and most welcome.

The $1.6 billion over 11 years to support nursing and midwifery, teaching and social work students in higher education and VET in their mandatory placements will have a very beneficial effect on completion rates and retention of these professionals in their training.

The support for temporary visa holders experiencing violence is a positive program and complements the Forced Marriage Specialist Support Program. But the funding of $6.1 million over four years and $18.6 million over five years respectively is insufficient to cover all cases.

WEL is deeply disappointed with the heartless JobSeeker Payment announcement. Those in greatest need, as stressed by the Government’s own Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, have been left to languish, often doing without life’s essentials. This payment is often the only lifeline for the homeless, many of whom are women who have fled domestic violence.

The renewed National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness, which funds social housing and on which many women’s refuges rely, has not been allocated any new monies after accounting for inflation and wage adjustments. 

“WEL has campaigned for years with many housing organisations to increase the funding under the Agreement. It is stretched thinly across great areas of need with homeless queues growing across the nation; women being a growing cohort in these queues”, said Ms Sobski. 

The $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund previously announced to build additional social homes and short term housing is a step forward but is insufficient to meet the current housing and domestic violence crises.  WEL calls for this Fund to be doubled to provide a further pipeline of social and affordable housing. 

While additional spending on Women’s Health, with substantial support for miscarriage responses, is welcome, WEL is disappointed with the limited funding for improving access to reproductive health, including abortion.

“The Government has set itself some ambitious targets in its Working for Women: Gender Equality Strategy. It must now demonstrate how these are going to be funded and delivered over the longer term. They cannot just remain aspirations”, said Ms Sobski.

“The commitment that has informed so much work on strategies and plans must be reflected in political action and, critically, in Budget priorities in coming years”.  


Media Inquiries:
Jozefa Sobski M 0403 895929
Convenor, WEL Australia 

Women's Electoral Lobby Au


Women's Electoral Lobby is a national, independent, non-party political, feminist lobby group working to ensure the rights of Australian women are protected.