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Federal Budget, Women

National Foundation for Australian Women gender lens analysis of the 2024 Federal Budget: Shows progress but lacks ambition.

National Foundation for Australian Women 2 mins read

NFAW's 2024 Federal Budget gender lens analysis (password: GL202425) finds that the budget's initiatives only partially reflect the ambition outlined in the Government's Working for Women—A Strategy for Gender Equality, released in March. 

While there are some commendable efforts to include gender impact analysis, particularly women's careers in the Future Made in Australia program, it has not yet been fully integrated across the entire budget process.

"The government's efforts in integrating gender analysis into the budget process, including requiring gender impact assessments for significant project proposals, are commendable," said Sally Moyle, Acting NFAW President.

"Nonetheless, NFAW urges further investment in gender-responsive budgeting, capacity development across government, and enhanced monitoring and accountability mechanisms."

"Working for Women acknowledges the economic disadvantage that women experience," said Professor Helen Hodgson, Chair of the NFAW Social Policy Committee.  

"While some of the budget measures will reduce that disadvantage, the budget lacks ambition overall.

"The Working for Women strategy has set high expectations for real and ambitious action. NFAW calls on the Government to realise these commitments in forthcoming budgets, ensuring comprehensive and sustained progress towards gender equality."

Key budget highlights:

  • Support for women in the care economy: Additional support, including supporting wage increases for care workers, payment of superannuation in the Commonwealth government's paid parental leave scheme and tax cuts extending to low and middle-income taxpayers, is welcome.
  • Investment in violence prevention: NFAW acknowledges the investment of almost $1 billion in the Leaving Violence Program, extending the Escaping Violence Payment trial. However, there is a pressing need for greater investment in frontline services and consistent national service standards.

Despite these positive measures, NFAW is concerned about several critical areas:

 

Specialist services for violence against women:

 

  • The budget does not sufficiently invest in legal help, specialist domestic and family violence services, health justice partnerships, and sexual violence services.
  • The Escaping Violence Payment does not adequately address the needs of diverse groups, including women with disabilities, Indigenous women, culturally and linguistically diverse women, and LGBTIQA+ individuals.

Recognition of unpaid care:

  • Including superannuation in paid parental leave and changes to Carer Payment and Carer Allowance are steps forward.
  • Disappointingly, the budget does not relax the Child Care Activity Test, which could improve outcomes for disadvantaged children and encourage workforce participation among affected women.

Economic security and workforce participation:

  • Funding for aged care workers and a commitment to wage increases for early childhood education and care workers are positive steps.
  • However, the community sector, including domestic violence, homelessness, and legal services, remains undervalued and underfunded.

Addressing poverty and social security:

  • Measures such as the energy rebate, bulk billing changes, increased Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and JobSeeker increases for those with partial work capacity are insufficient.
  • The social security safety net remains inadequate, perpetuating poverty and disadvantage, particularly among women.

Healthcare bias and research:

  • Initiatives addressing women's health issues, including menopause, fertility, and pregnancy loss, are important.
  • More funding is needed for mental health, drug research, and removing gender bias in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and access to abortion care.

 

Read the 2024 Federal Budget gender lens analysis in full (password: GL202425).

 


About us:

The National Foundation for Australian Women is a leading advocate for gender equality in Australia, independent of party politics and dedicated to promoting and protecting women's rights through policy advocacy, research, and education.


Contact details:

Sally Moyle, Acting NFAW President, 0400 167 927

Professor Helen Hodgson, Chair Social Policy Committee, 0418 906 162 (note AWST)

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