Federal Budget: Progress for women, but significant gaps remain

Diversity Council Australia (DCA) welcomes the federal government’s commitment to promoting gender equality through increased investment in women’s economic security and women’s safety in the Federal Budget.

Lisa Annese, CEO of DCA, commended the Albanese government’s focus on improving outcomes for women but said significant gaps in policy and funding remain. 

“The Federal Budget has laid the groundwork for critical advancements in women’s safety and gender equality,” Lisa said.

“However, to truly address the pervasive issue of violence against women and gender inequality, substantial and sustained government leadership and investment are imperative.”

Key investments for women's equality and safety

  • Superannuation on parental leave: The decision to include superannuation in the government’s paid parental leave is a critical step toward women’s economic security, which DCA advocated for in its submission to the federal government’s Paid Parental Leave Amendment Bill.
  • Commitment to increase wages for ECEC educators: DCA has been advocating for a range of measures to improve working conditions for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) workers and improve access and affordability of ECEC allowing more women to return to work. However, DCA notes the government did not remove the Childcare Subsidy Activity Test which acts as a barrier to accessing childcare for families facing social or economic disadvantage.
  • Focus on gendered violence: DCA commends the government’s increased investment in responding to family and domestic violence, particularly its promise to spend $9.6 million to support informed policy advice. However, DCA was disappointed to see a lack of investment in frontline workers for women’s safety, as well as the government’s failure to adequately increase income support such as Jobseeker and Youth Allowance, which would provide crucial economic security for women leaving violence.
  • Investment in VET training for women: This is a great step towards removing barriers faced by women seeking VET training and creating pathways for women to secure stable employment. Read DCA’s recommendations for making education more accessible for all women in its response to the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations’ Discussion Paper: Supporting women to achieve VET-based careers.
  • More support for the care economy: Increased wages for aged-care workers and financial support for university students studying teaching, nursing and social work during their mandatory placements.