With the budget predicted to be back in the black next year and an election around the corner, has the forecast surplus resulted in new funding for programs and payments that women are seeking? Not really …
Funding reannouncements included $328 million to combat violence against women and children and $3.4 million for the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative. But no improvements to parental leave or the affordability of quality childcare. No funding to address the dire circumstances that are conspiring to make older women the fastest growing group of homeless people in Australia. A commitment to continue pre-school funding for 4 year olds for one more year, but no extension to 3 year olds.
In global terms Australia has been slipping backwards in terms of the gender gap that persists between men and women for successive years. Australia has the second least generous paid parental leave policy in the OECD. The cost and availability of high quality early childhood education and care hampers women's workforce participation. Yet these concerns don’t even rate a mention – even when there is both money to be spent and votes to win.
Check out the Women's Agenda analysis:
The breakdown: What the Federal Budget actually lays out for women
What’s in the 2019 Budget for women? Very little
How the Australian budget process is failing womenBudget fails to deliver for early childhood education