20 November 2018

Enhancing the economic independence of women

The Morrison Government has announced new measures supporting women’s economic independence and increase women’s workforce participation, reaffirming its commitment to improving the economic wellbeing of women.

The Government has already taken decisive action to improve the economic security of women, and is further enhancing it by extending early release of superannuation to victims of domestic and family violence, as well as better understanding the current economic contribution of women through the Time Use Survey.

The two measures are part of the Women’s Economic Security Package, which aims to further enhance the economic wellbeing of Australian women and improve their economic recovery when critical life events, such as domestic violence, happen.

Domestic and family violence can have lasting financial impacts on its victims, and the Government is extending eligibility of the early access to superannuation to help fund the costs of rebuilding the lives of victims and their families.

Currently, victims of domestic violence generally cannot access their superannuation before reaching preservation age, but this change ensures they will be able to apply to withdraw up to $10,000 of their superannuation in a 24 month period to meet unexpected costs. This measure will form part of additional consultation on the review of the early release of superannuation benefits, which we will have more to say about shortly.

In addition to this extension, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will reinstate the Time Use Survey to help establish the economic value of unpaid work, including care work, which is a key factor in the workforce participation gap between women and men.

This survey will have a positive impact on women’s economic security by fully valuing the contribution that women make to the economy, providing evidence of the distribution of paid and unpaid work between women and men, and helping inform policies to support the greater availability of flexible work arrangements.

The initial survey will be conducted in 2020-21 followed by a smaller ongoing annual survey that will build up the evidence base over time.