What you need to know about this budget: it fails women

Women have been most impacted by recession job losses - they should have been at the centre of this recovery strategy. But they are not.

Last night's budget treats women as an afterthought. And it’s terrible news for those of us who care about equality.
Here are some of the key things you need to know:
  • The Morrison Government has committed no new funding for the domestic and family violence services so many victim-survivors rely on for their safety - even though services can’t help everyone reaching out to them for help right now.

  • Despite women losing the majority of jobs and work hours during the pandemic; and the Treasurer declaring “this Budget is all about jobs”, the government has failed to substantially invest in creating jobs for women.

    They have allocated just $240.4 million in dedicated funding (over *five years*) to the Women’s Economic Security Statement. That’s just 0.038% of the total budget deficit.

    The government has ignored calls from experts to strengthen our social security net and create jobs, by investing in female dominated sectors like nursing and education. They have made a small commitment to investing in opportunities for women in STEM and male dominated fields - but no significant investment in jobs or better wages or conditions for the women dominated caring industries (nurses, early childhood educators, teachers) that have been on the frontlines of this crisis.
  • The government is touting their plan to reduce personal income tax contributions. But these changes will overwhelmingly benefit men in the long term - with modelling showing they will get $2.28 for every $1 flowing to women.

  • Women over 45 were most likely to be on JobSeeker before the pandemic, and are facing not only cuts to their income support payments as the temporary increase to JobSeeker is removed over coming months, but also exclusion from the JobMaker program. This is particularly concerning given older women are already the fastest growing group of homeless Australians.

  • The government is also resourcing extending the ParentsNext program, which has previously been described as ‘punitive’ and ‘inconsistent with Australia’s human rights obligations’ by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

  • Despite numerous calls from leading economists, the government has failed to provide investment in high quality, accessible early childhood education - which would support women and families, encourage women’s workforce participation, and create jobs.

  • The failure to expand and permanently increase the JobSeeker safety net will also hurt many - including those affected by domestic violence.
    Financial insecurity can be an insurmountable barrier to escaping family violence, and loss of income during the pandemic shut down will increase the difficulty many victim-survivors face to escaping their abuser. A return to the old $40 a day support level would leave them without enough to live on, or cover the basics they need to escape abuse.
    And for women who joined our communities on temporary visas, who are trying to escape violence, this budget continues to deny them any income support - even though current govt systems give their abusers more leverage to keep them trapped.
In short: this budget fails women and will entrench inequality.
The Fair Agenda movement is working for a future where our gender doesn’t determine our worth - or our safety, economic security or agency over our lives and bodies. The Morrison Government had an opportunity to steer our nation in that direction with this budget. Instead, so many of their budget decisions steer us towards increased and entrenched inequality.
Our community deserves an economy and budget that benefits everyone; and provides a social safety net strong enough to keep us safe and well when times are tough. This budget has failed to deliver that.
The absence of a gender lens analysis of who will (and won't) benefit from this budget couldn't be more apparent. Yet the Morrison Government has continued with Tony Abbott's policy of providing no Women's Budget Statement. If you think it's time that changed, you can join the campaign here: fairagenda.org/budgetstatement