Written by Amanda Uppal
The Government released a specific "Women's Budget Statement" designed to highlight measures it says total $3.4 billion aimed at improving women's safety, economic security, health and wellbeing.
- Reforms to superannuation were amongst the measures directed at improving women's workforce participation and economic security. At a cost of $31.5 million over the forward estimates, the Government is removing the $450 per month threshold under which employees do not have to be paid the superannuation guarantee.
- The Government is also extending access to the downsizer contribution by reducing the minimum age requirement from 65 to 60. Further reforms include the removal of the work test to allow those aged 67 to 74 years to make or receive non-concessional and salary sacrificed contributions without meeting the work test, subject to existing contributions caps.
- These measures seek to address retirement outcomes for women who, on average, retire with lower superannuation balances and lower retirement incomes.
Increased child care subsidy
- The Government has allocated $1.7 billion over five years to assist families with child care costs and to increase women's workforce participation. In particular, a 30% increase to the Child Care Subsidy will be provided for second and subsequent children aged five and under commencing in July 2022.
- The annual cap on child care subsidy payments of $10,560 per child per year will also be removed for all families commencing July 2022.
Women's economic security
The Government also announced a number of other initiatives designed to improve women's economic security. These include:
- $38.3 million over five years from 2021-22 to increase grant funding available through the Women's Leadership and Development Program;
- $2.6 million over three years from 2021-22 to expand the Career Revive program to support more medium to large regional businesses attract and retain women returning to work after a career break; and
- the establishment of the Family Home Guarantee to provide a pathway to home ownership for single parent households.
The Government will provide $998.1 million over four years for initiatives to reduce, and support the victims of family, domestic and sexual violence against women and children. These proposals are intended to be transitional ahead of the development of a new National Plan to address these issues. Measures include:
- $507.3 million to establish programmes to support women and children the subject of violence
- $92.4 million towards prevention strategies for violence;
- $320.1 million towards assistance for victims to engage with the legal system;
- $80.6 million towards research into family, domestic and sexual violence.