Labor invests over $7 billion to drive gender equality

Minister for Finance, Minister for Women, Minister for the Public Service

Australian women are front and centre of Labor’s first budget, as the Albanese Government begins the job of delivering on our election commitment to make Australia a world leader on gender equality.

Improving women’s economic quality was a central part of the discussions at the Jobs and Skills Summit and this is the first Budget where the Labor Government can demonstrate that we are serious about delivering on our promises.

This Budget will deliver:

  • Cheaper childcare for 96% of Australian families.
  • The biggest boost to paid parental leave since the scheme was introduced by Labor in 2011.
  • $1.7 billion to improve women’s safety initiatives to support our ambition of a country free from gender-based violence.
  • Gender responsive budgeting which has ensured that the gender impact of decisions was central to the decision-making process from the beginning of the process.

Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher, said that the Government is committed to unlocking and valuing the talent, potential and contribution of women in Australia after a decade of neglect.

“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,” Minister Gallagher 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.”

The full Albanese Labor Government’s Women’s Budget Statement is available on the Treasury Budget Website and a summary of the key initiatives is below.

Women’s economic equality

The Albanese Government is taking the first steps to remove barriers that limit women’s opportunities when they have caring responsibilities, including by:

  • Delivering a $531.6 million investment to expand the Paid Parental Leave scheme up to 26 weeks by July 2026. This is the biggest boost to Australia’s Paid Parental Leave scheme since it was created by the former Labor Government in 2011, which will support parents to spend more time with their children and share caring responsibilities more equally.
  • Investing $4.7 billion over four years to make it easier and cheaper for parents to access early childhood education and care.
  • The Government is also providing families with First Nations children access to a minimum level entitlement of 36 hours per fortnight of subsidised early childhood education and care from July 2023. This will provide a strong foundation for First Nation’s children.

The Albanese Government is also delivering on our promise to lead the national push to close the gender pay gap by:

  • Providing 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 strengthen the Fair Work Commission’s capacity to hear and determine applications from female-dominated industries whose work is often undervalued and under-paid.
  • Reforming the workplace relations system to make gender equity an objective of the Fair Work Act 2009 and legislating a statutory equal remuneration principle

As we take the Australian people with us on this journey of closing the gender gap, we’ll need to strengthen the Commonwealth’s capability to lead progress, including by rolling out gender responsive budgeting.

That’s why we are providing $3.1 million to support work by the Office for Women to rollout gender responsive budgeting in future Budgets and develop a National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality.

Women’s safety

To support the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-32 and its ambition of an Australia free of gender-based violence, the Commonwealth is making a record investment of over $1.7 billion, made up of:

  • $1.3 billion in funding for a range of targeted initiatives to address gender-based violence, across the key areas of preventing violence, early intervention to prevent violence from escalating, responses to victim-survivors and support for their recovery and healing, as identified in the National Plan, including:
  • $39.6 million in 2022-23 for additional support through the Escaping Violence Payment program,
  • $25 million over five years to trial innovative responses to address the behaviour of perpetrators; and
  • $12.6 million over two years to extend the program assisting Temporary Visa Holders who are experiencing family, domestic and sexual violence.
  • $169.4 million for 500 frontline service and community workers to support women and children experiencing family, domestic and sexual violence, with support targeted to women and children in rural, regional and remote areas; First Nations people; the culturally and linguistically diverse community; women with disability; and the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • $83.5 million over 6 years for consent and respectful relationships education, to prevent violence before it begins and support young people to develop safe and healthy relationships.
  • $42.5 million to implement all recommendations of the [email protected] report. This includes $32 million to fund Working Women’s Centres in all states and territories, which provide free advice and assistance to women on issues including workplace sexual harassment, discrimination and wage theft.
  • $3.4 million to support the implementation of 10 days paid domestic and family violence leave.
  • $3.0 million to restore funding to the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Service forum, to improve access to justice for First Nations people experiencing family violence.
  • $100 million for crisis and transitional housing options for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness, through the Housing Australia Future Fund.

Women’s health and wellbeing

Supporting women’s health and wellbeing is also integral to our efforts to drive gender equality. To support women’s health and wellbeing, the Government is making a number of key investments that support women and families:

  • $26.2 million to fund 12 new perinatal mental health centres across Australia. This will help around 2,880 expectant and new parents to access to the mental health support they need each year.
  • $5.9 million towards expanding the pregnancy and postnatal guidelines for expectant parents, including target consultation and guidance for culturally and linguistically diverse and First Nations people. A further $13.9 million will be provided to increase the number of autopsies and investigations undertaken after a stillbirth.
  • $22.5 million over 3 years from 2022-23 to build a dedicated Birthing on Country Centre of Excellence at Waminda, an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service in Nowra, NSW. The Birth Centre will be operational by 2025-26 and will support best practice birthing on country services and support.

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