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So-called “women’s budget” falls well short

Media Release
Larissa Waters 12 May 2021

The Greens say the government’s much-touted spending announcements for women have barely moved the needle on economic security and safety.
Greens Deputy Leader and spokesperson on women Senator Larissa Waters said: 
“The headlines promised us that this would be a women’s budget but what do we really have to show for it? A transparent attempt to buy off Australian women with some flashy announcements but not much substance.

“$3.4 billion has been allocated to addressing women’s economic insecurity, gender inequality and gendered violence – but that’s barely $1 per week per woman over the next four years. And it is eclipsed by the $5.5 billion to be delivered to men in just the first year of the government’s irresponsible stage 3 tax cuts.

“Funding for domestic and family violence services has been doubled but it’s still only a quarter of what the sector says is needed to meet existing demand.

“There’s more money for childcare but 75% of families won’t see any benefit and it remains a massive financial burden for the vast majority of parents.

“There’s additional spending on women’s health, but nothing for telehealth midwifery services, birthing on Country programs for First Nations women, or making period products free for students.

“There’s a welcome boost to women’s super with the scrapping of the $450 a month threshold for compulsory super contributions, which the Greens have long proposed, but super contributions still won’t be paid on parental leave payments, and the retirement income gap between men and women will remain.

“There is some funding for consent education, but no commitment to roll out Our Watch’s expert-led respectful relationships education program. There are no investments in public housing to tackle the housing affordability crisis, no new initiatives to value the care economy, and no wage rises in the care and education sectors.

“And the government still hasn’t restored the women’s budget impact statement, which provided a gender lens on all budget decision-making for decades but was canned by Tony Abbott in 2013.

“Meanwhile, JobSeeker remains at $44 a day and wages are stagnant, while the government will give massive tax cuts to its rich mates!

“We welcome the additional spending on initiatives that help women, like extending Workplace Gender Equality Agency reporting obligations to the public sector, funding implementation of the Respect@Work recommendations (though still not all of them), cash payments to assist victim-survivors fleeing violence, and working towards national harmonisation of approaches to coercive control, enforcement standards and consent laws – all of which are Greens policies.

“But we shouldn’t celebrate quarter-measures and token gestures from a party that governs for its billionaire and corporate donors.

“It’s been clear from the PM’s responses to Brittany Higgins’ revelations, the rape allegations against Christian Porter, and the vile and harassing behaviour from men within the ranks of his own party that he views women merely as a political problem to be handled.

“But if the PM thinks he can shut us up by simply tossing a few coins at our feet he sorely underestimates how much rage and frustration Australian women feel.

“This is far from over.”

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