Your guide to tonight's budget
Tonight is budget night, and with the election expected to be called any day now, this budget will set the agenda on a number of key issues our community care about.
With so many things at stake this election, it can be hard to keep track; so we’ve put together a quick budget guide on the top two issues Fair Agenda members said are top priorities, so you know what to keep an eye out for.
Here it is:
1. On addressing gendered violence
Funding for family violence services is the big one to look for here. Prime Minister Turnbull says addressing family violence is a national priority, and tonight’s budget is a test of that commitment.
Domestic Violence Victoria are calling for the federal government to provide an urgent additional $4 billion over two years in this budget, to match the scale of funding committed by the Andrews’ Government in Victoria last month.
Some specific funding needs to listen out for:
- Family Violence Prevention Legal Services: these are a specialist culturally safe service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, which need an additional $28 million to meet national demand.
- Community Legal Centres – which provide vital legal advice to women trying to escape family violence and who are facing a $34 million funding cut,, but which actually need an additional $14.4 million to even meet existing demand.
- Perpetrator Programs – which require $38 million
- Primary Prevention work – which needs additional funding on top of the $30 million awareness campaign currently being rolled out.
2. On ending women’s economic inequality
Paid Parental Leave
For the past year the Fair Agenda community have successfully campaigned to stop the government’s attempts to cut the amount of time new parents’ can afford to spend at home caring for their newborn. The government recently confirmed that they plan to re-introduce their cuts to parental leave after the election.
Tonight’s budget should give us an idea of whether or not a returned Turnbull government plans to re-introduce them before the end of the 2016/17 financial year, and therefore whether or not parents due in that time frame will be affected.
Last week a Senate committee report found that women’s superannuation balances at retirement are on average half as large as men’s.
One recommendation made by the committee was that the federal government adjust superannuation tax concessions to ensure they are distributed to people with lower super balances.
The Turnbull government have said that it plans to abolish the Low Income Super Contribution, but there’s speculation that they might introduce something else in this area – if so, it will have important implications for women with low-incomes.
The government is proposing a new childcare system – but wants to pay for it by tearing funds out of Paid Parental Leave and Family Tax benefits; hardly a good outcome for families. This is another issue to keep an eye out for in coverage of tonight’s budget.