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29 March 2022

2022-23 Budget boost to support Australian women and girls

Note

Joint media release with

The Hon. Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister

Senator the Hon. Marise Payne
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women

Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston
Minister for Families and Social Services and Minister for Women’s Safety

The Morrison Government has announced a $2.1 billion Budget package of targeted measures to further support Australian women and girls as part of our plan for a stronger future.

The 2022-23 Women’s Budget Statement builds on our record $3.4 billion investment made last year and the 2018 and 2020 Women’s Economic Security Statements.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it includes funding for new initiatives and to continue existing programs across the government’s key priority areas of women’s safety, women’s economic security and leadership, and health and wellbeing.

“This year’s investment brings total funding across our two Women’s Budget Statements to $5.5 billion and is a further demonstration of the Morrison Government’s long-term commitment to improving outcomes for women,” the Prime Minister said.

“Our approach is working. As of February 2022, women’s workforce participation reached the highest on record at 62.4 per cent, with 1.1 million more women in work today than in 2013. And the gender pay gap has narrowed to 13.8 per cent, the second-lowest on record and significantly lower than the 17.4 per cent gender pay gap when the Government was elected in 2013.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne said achieving gender equality is a priority for the Morrison Government.

“We are focused on improving the lives of women in Australia, building on record investment already made,” said Minister Payne.

This Budget demonstrates further action to improve the lives of women and girls across Australia now and into the future.

“This is about complementing and enhancing the work being done in partnership with governments, business, the community and individuals to achieve a more inclusive and equal Australia for all women and girls,” said Minister Payne.

“We know that gender equality is the foundation for a safe, healthy, and cohesive community as well as a strong economy.

“That is why we are continuing to focus our efforts on three key priorities—women’s safety, economic security and leadership, and health and wellbeing.

“We know that these priorities are mutually reinforcing. When we achieve better outcomes in one area, we see positive benefits across all areas,” Minister Payne said.

Women’s safety

Improving the safety of women and girls in their homes, communities, workplaces, schools and online is a key priority for the Morrison Government, which is why the 2022-23 Budget includes $1.3 billion to improve outcomes for women’s safety.

Minister for Families and Social Services and Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston said this brings the Commonwealth’s investment in women’s safety initiatives to $2.5 billion to support the transition to and implementation of the next National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032.

“The National Plan is the blueprint for the Government’s commitment to end violence against women and children,” Minister Ruston said.

“Our commitment spans the lifecycle of violence because we know that prevention, early intervention, response and recovery are all key to ending gender-based violence.”

To end gendered violence we must prevent it from occurring in the first place. The Government is investing $222.6 million in prevention initiatives including expanding the role of the national prevention organisation, Our Watch, establishing a national consent campaign and extending the Stop it at the Start campaign as well as investing in community-led prevention programs. This also includes funding for ANROWS to continue important work building data and evidence.

Access to frontline services is critical to supporting women at risk of and who are experiencing violence. The Government is investing $328.2 million to expand and establish early intervention programs. This including $127.8 million for trauma-informed national counselling services to support victim-survivors including children impacted by family and domestic violence and behaviour change services for individuals who have or are at risk of perpetrating gendered violence, supporting about 80,000 Australians. We will also extend our investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Support Services for families who are experiencing, witnessing or at risk of family or domestic violence.

Responding to women experiencing violent relationships with support to help them leave and rebuild their lives is vital. The Government will build on last year’s commitment to response services through an additional $480.1 million commitment including $240 million to extend the Escaping Violence Payment. The payment provides up to $5,000 in financial assistance to establish a life free from violence and the funding is estimated to support 37,500 victim-survivors on a demand driven basis. A further $100 million will be provided for a second stage of the Safe Places Program, which will deliver about 720 new emergency and transitional accommodation places that is estimated to support up to 2,880 women and children annually. A further 30,000 women will be supported to stay safely in their own homes through the Keeping Women Safe in their Homes program.

To support women’s recovery from the trauma of violence, the Government will provide $290.9 million for a range of legal and health services. This includes $87.9 million to provide a national expansion of the Lighthouse Project, which triages FDSV matters before the family court, $52.4 million to prevent victim-survivors being cross-examined by perpetrators and $25 million to establish Australia’s first women’s trauma recovery facility at the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre.

Women’s economic security

Women’s workforce participation is at a record high, women are earning more than ever before, women’s unemployment is at its lowest levels since 1974, and the gender pay gap continues to narrow.

To further improve on this, the Morrison Government is investing $482 million to enhance women’s economic security, focused on maximising flexibility and choice for Australian women and families supporting them into more diverse industries, jobs of the future and leadership positions.

To further remove barriers to women’s workforce participation and provide working families with choice and flexibility to manage work and care, the Government is investing an additional $346.1 million to establish Enhanced Paid Parental Leave (PPL) for Families. Eligible working parents will be able to share up to 20 weeks of fully flexible leave to use in ways that suit their specific circumstances.

Changes to the scheme also include removing disincentives for fathers to take up parental leave by enabling them to take Government PPL in conjunction with employer-funded leave, in the same way women currently can. Practically, this means eligible families will have full control over how they choose to use up to 20 weeks of PPL, empowering them to make caring decisions that work for them.

With more women in work and earning more than ever before, the Government is broadening the PPL income test to include a household income threshold of $350,000 per year. This change will particularly support women who are the primary earner and do not currently have access to employer‑funded parental leave.

Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy and Minister for Women’s Economic Security Jane Hume said every Australian family is different – so our Paid Parental Leave scheme should reflect this.

“Giving families greater choice and flexibility about managing work and care will boost women’s workforce participation, and enhance their economic security. Our reforms substantially improve the Paid Parental Leave scheme,” said Minister Hume.

Further measures in the Budget are focused on helping women into higher-paying and traditionally male-dominated industries. To boost the number of women in trades, the Government is investing $38.6 million over 4 years from 2022‑23. Women who commence in higher paying trade occupations on the Australian Apprenticeship Priority List will be provided additional supports, such as mentoring and wraparound services.

Also, the $3.9 million ‘Supporting Women’s Mid-Career Transition to the Tech Workforce’ initiative exemplifies how the Morrison Government is actively creating pathways for women into lucrative careers in industries of the future.

Further lowering the gender pay gap and increasing women’s workforce participation requires collective effort from governments, business, and the community.

In March, the Morrison Government released its review of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (the WGEA Review), a commitment from the 2021-22 Women’s Budget Statement.

The Government is working towards implementing all recommendations of the WGEA Review. The 2022-23 Budget provides additional resources to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) to ensure they are equipped to implement these recommendations and other initiatives, including the establishment of Excellence in Workplace Gender Equality Awards.

“As the largest employer of Australian women, the private sector must work in partnership with government to drive change. That’s why we are investing a further $18.5 million to support the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, which will help to focus private sector organisations on finding opportunities to close the pay gap and increase women’s workforce participation,” said Minister Payne.

“These measures demonstrate how the Morrison Government is continuing to improve women’s economic security by breaking down barriers, giving Australian women the choices and chances they expect and deserve,” Minister Hume said.

Women’s leadership

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne said we know having women in leadership positions helps reduce gender pay gaps, ensures more balanced decision-making, provides role models and mentors for the next generation of leaders and contributes to achieving gender equality.

“When women reach their full potential, their talents and skills benefit whole communities and deliver a stronger economy,” Minister Payne said

The Morrison Government is making a further investment, building on the success of existing initiatives to improve leadership outcomes for women, by providing an additional $18.2 million for the Women’s Leadership and Development Program.

This includes $9 million from 2023-24 to 2025-26 to expand the successful Future Female Entrepreneurs program to develop and grow women’s core entrepreneurial skills. Funding will continue the successful Academy for Enterprising Girls (10-18 year olds) and the Accelerator for Enterprising Women, expanding it to include all women aged 18+, as well as adding a new Senior Enterprising Women program.

To support women facing unique barriers to leadership and employment, the Government is also investing $9.4 million to expand the Future Women’s Jobs Academy and to support gender balanced boards.

Health and wellbeing

The health of Australian women and girls is critical to their overall wellbeing and ability to fully participate in society. Women have experienced significant health gains in recent years and the Morrison Government is continuing to provide further targeted funding for women’s health and wellbeing.

The Government is investing $330.6 million over four years from 2022-23 to fund initiatives supporting the maternal, sexual and reproductive health of Australian women and girls that will support the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-30.

The Morrison Government is providing funding to establish a National Women's Health Advisory Council and are making additional investments to support a range of initiatives, including increasing the awareness of cardiovascular disease in women and enhancing bereavement support for families who have experienced stillbirth.

One in nine Australian women are affected by endometriosis, which can affect women's health, fertility, education, and employment outcomes. The Government is investing $58 million to support women to get a diagnosis earlier. Women with endometriosis will have access to resources to make informed choices for their health, and doctors will be provided with guidance on the best treatment plans.

The Budget also provides funding for breast and cervical cancer screening. Women who missed or delayed breast screening because of COVID‑19 will be able to catch-up, with the Government investing $9.7 million in surge capacity for BreastScreen Australia.

The Government understands that the maternity workforce is an important health pillar for women living in rural and remote areas and is investing $1.2 million to engage with senior midwifery practitioners to consult and map maternity service models and develop options to integrate service models into emerging and current primary care models.

For more information, including the full set of measures and detailed analysis, read the Women’s Budget Statement