Women's Budget Snapshot

Women's Budget Snapshot

Improving the lives of Australian women

Australia’s girls and women deserve an equal stake in our society and our economy.

That is why the 2019-20 Budget is continuing to deliver practical measures to boost women’s safety and health outcomes, give them greater choice in their lives, build financial security for themselves and their families, and grow our economy.

 

The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer, MP

Minister for Women
Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations

 

Overview

Since the 2018-19 Budget, Australian women have continued to see improvements in key economic measures.

A record high of more than six million women are now employed, and more women are in full-time work than ever before. The gender pay gap has reached a new record low of 14.2 per cent, down from 17.2 per cent in 2013. Women’s workforce participation has risen to record highs, and currently sits at 60.6 per cent.

But with women still earning less than men, working part-time at over twice the rate of men, and more likely to experience family and domestic violence, there is still much more to do.

That is why the 2019-20 Budget includes a range of initiatives focused on women’s:

  • safety and security
  • financial security and workforce participation
  • health and wellbeing.

Our Government’s first priority is to keep Australians safe. That’s why we are making the single largest ever Commonwealth investment in the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, with funding of $328 million invested in initiatives to address domestic and family violence. It brings our investment in women and children’s safety to more than $840 million since 2013.

We also know that financial security, resilience and empowerment give women real choices in their lives.

The 2019-20 Budget also furthers our practical measures to help women keep more of what they earn, access work and be prepared for the jobs of the future in fields like STEM.

We also want to see even healthier Australian women. This Budget again delivers record health funding delivering critical investments in women’s health and wellbeing. Key measures include expanding the Medicare Benefits Schedule to cover even more women’s health needs and prioritising perinatal mental health.

The Coalition Government is focused on women’s prosperity, safety and wellbeing, and the 2019-20 Budget continues our Government’s delivery on these important areas.

We know that when women do well, their families do well, and our economy and nation prospers.

The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP

Minister for Women
Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations

Financial Security

The Government is delivering practical measures in the 2019-20 Budget to help give women greater choices about their lives, build financial security for themselves and their families, and grow the Australian economy.

Over the past few decades, Australia has taken great strides in improving women’s economic independence and security.

In 2019:

  • there are more women in work than ever before, with more than 6 million women now employed
  • there are more women in full-time work than ever before
  • the gender pay gap is at a record low of 14.2 per cent
  • women’s workforce participation reached a record high of 60.7 per cent in January 2019, and is currently 60.6 per cent.

But there is more work to do to ensure that women are able to fully benefit from the choices and opportunity a strong economy delivers. This includes assisting parents to balance work and family life, strengthening educational outcomes and leadership opportunities and making it easier to catch up on superannuation. It also means enabling Australian women to financially recover from critical events like illness, separation, or domestic violence.

The Government’s plan builds on the $119.2 million Women’s Economic Security Statement and supports these objectives.

The Government will also continue to support Australian women through assistance with power bills and cost of living expenses. The Government will provide a one-off, income tax exempt payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples to over 3.9 million Australians who currently receive an eligible social security payment, at a total cost of $284 million. More than 56 per cent of the recipients (2.2 million) will be women, and around 242,000 recipients of Parenting Payment (Single) will receive the payment, of which around 230,000 are women (or around 95 per cent).

Financial abuse

Almost 90 per cent of women who have experienced domestic and family violence have also experienced financial abuse. $2 million in Commonwealth funding is provided to support the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 in the development of strategies for the prevention of financial abuse, improving women’s economic independence.

This builds on the $67 million under the Women’s Economic Security Statement to support women experiencing family and domestic violence. This includes a $14.9 million investment to 2022-23 to expand the No Interest Loans Scheme run by Good Shepherd Microfinance for women experiencing family and domestic violence, and extending the early release of superannuation for victims of domestic and family violence.

Boosting Leadership and Participation

The Australian Government is also taking measures to boost women’s leadership and participation in industries where women may experience barriers to success, such as the music and STEM industries. We are leading by example by increasing representation of women on government boards. As at December 2018, the percentage of women on Australian Government boards increased to 47.3 per cent, the highest overall result since public reporting began. This is an increase of 5.6 percentage points since the Coalition came to Government.

Women in Music

As part of the Coalition’s $30.9 million investment in the Australian music industry, we will provide $2.1 million over four years to deliver a mentorship program to help women take their music career to the next level, including professional training in contract negotiation, marketing, and finance. Women are under-represented in the Australian music industry. The program will empower women in the creation, development and promotion of their music. Funding will be directed towards emerging talent with a view to equipping female musicians with the skills to move to the next stage of their career.

Women in STEM

In the 2019-20 Budget, the Australian Government is building women’s economic security by delivering measures to support women’s participation in male-dominated industries, such as science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). This is in addition to initiatives that are part of the 2018 Women’s Economic Security Statement package, including funding to extend the Curious Minds program to encourage more girls into STEM. A focus on STEM will also ensure the digital economy benefits women and girls, with opportunities and resources to reach their full potential.

To maximise Australia’s productivity and prosperity, the Government will continue to enhance gender equality in STEM in this Budget by providing $3.4 million to extend funding for the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) initiative and to fund a National Awareness Raising Initiative.

These Budget measures form part of the Government’s commitment to the ongoing development of the Women in STEM Decadal Plan – with $4.5 million in the 2018-19 Budget – to encourage more women to pursue STEM education and careers. This funding builds on previous investments for women made through the National Innovation and Science Agenda of $13 million.

The $4 million Women in Aviation Initiative, announced on 8 March 2019, will help encourage more women to pursue careers in all elements of the aviation sector. This funding will be used for a wide range of programs to engage women, whatever their age or location, to consider a career in the aviation industry, with the aim of increasing the number of female professionals to meet future demands for skilled workers in the industry. Women currently account for only around three per cent of pilots and one per cent of aircraft engineers in the worldwide aviation industry.

 

Case study - Women Building Australia

The Government has announced a $675,000 grant over three years for Women Building Australia, a construction industry led program to increase the participation of young women working in the sector. Whilst the sector has traditionally been male dominated, statistics have shown that women working in the building and construction industry leads to better business performance and workplace morale, and a decrease in mental illness rates.

Through a national mentoring program and a national career expo program run by Master Builders Australia, the Women Building Australia initiative will encourage women to enter and remain in the building and construction industry. The initiative targets the four main barriers to women’s participation:

  • perceptions of the industry
  • lack of appropriate workforce pathways offered as a choice for young women
  • lack of encouragement for young women to consider a career in building and construction
  • lack of support to retain female newcomers in the building and construction industry.

 

Women’s Economic Security Statement

The $119.2 million Women’s Economic Security Statement is focussed on assisting women at many different points of their lives, in different parts of Australia, and in different circumstances.

It will help equip them with the tools and support they need to make the best choices about their future.

Whether it is boosting entrepreneurship in girls and young women, bringing business together to help reduce the ‘flexibility gap’ and gender pay gap, expanding the number of parents who can access parental leave payments and the period the payment is taken, or supporting women in their darkest hour with access to the funds they need to escape domestic violence, the Coalition Government is focused on supporting Australian women.

The Women’s Economic Security Statement won’t just give women and their families’ greater choice, it will also grow the Australian economy.

The Women’s Economic Security Package ($119.2 million over four years to 2021-22) is built around three pillars:

  • Workforce participation
  • Earning potential
  • Economic independence

Measures to increase women’s workforce participation ($65.9 million over four years) include

  • increasing flexibility in the Paid Parental Leave system and expanding access through changes to the work test
  • supporting regional employers through the Career Revive initiative to develop action plans for their business to attract and retain women returning to work after a career break
  • providing scholarships for women in accounting, economics and finance through the Women’s Leadership and Development Program
  • reinstating the Time Use Survey, a contemporary evidence base to measure women’s economic security
  • improvements to Workplace Gender Equality Agency systems to enhance Australia’s gender equality data and reduce the cost of reporting for business
  • establishing a Reducing Barriers to Work Forum to help drive changes to encourage female workforce participation.

 

Measures to support women’s economic independence ($34.9 million over four years) include

  • extending specialist Domestic Violence Units and Health Justice Partnerships, including for financial support services
  • extending early release of superannuation for victims of domestic and family violence
  • expanding the No Interest Loan Scheme run by Good Shepherd Microfinance to women experiencing family and domestic violence
  • funding legal assistance to ensure victims of family violence are appropriately protected from direct cross-examination by their perpetrators in family law matters
  • improving the visibility of superannuation assets in family law proceedings
  • providing family law property mediation
  • establishing a new Small Claims Property pilot program for distributing property following a relationship breakdown.

 

Measures to improve women’s earning potential ($18.4 million over four years) include

  • an expansion of the Curious Minds program
  • establishing a Future Female Entrepreneurs program in partnership with the private sector
  • creating a new grants program, Boosting Female Founders, to ensure women can access the finance they need to achieve their entrepreneurial goals.

Tax relief to reward and encourage hard­-working Australians

Supporting economic choice and opportunity

The Australian Government is delivering lower taxes for hard-working Australians in the 2019‑20 Budget by building on its Personal Income Tax Plan. Women will receive tax relief from the enhanced plan, which will support consumption growth, ease cost of living pressures and increase the reward for effort.

The Government will provide immediate tax relief for low- and middle-income earners of up to $1,080 for singles or up to $2,160 for dual income families, which they will receive after lodging their tax returns as early as 1 July 2019. In 2024-25 the Government will lower the 32.5 per cent tax rate to 30 per cent, increasing the reward for effort and ensuring a projected 94 per cent of taxpayers will face a marginal tax rate of no more than 30 per cent in 2024-25.


Anthea is a cyber security specialist and earns $130,000 in the 2018-19 income year.

Under the enhanced plan, Anthea pays $135 less tax for 2018-19 compared with 2017-18 rates and thresholds, paying a total of $38,197 in tax.

In 2022-23, with greater experience, Anthea is earning $170,000. Anthea pays $2,565 less tax for 2022‑23 compared with 2017-18 rates and thresholds, paying a total of $51,367 in tax for 2022-23.

 

 

Sam is 20 and is an apprentice chef. In 2018 19, she earns $28,000.

Under the enhanced plan, Sam pays $255 less tax for 2018-19 compared with 2017-18 rates and thresholds.

Under 2017-18 rates and thresholds, Sam would pay tax of $1,977 for 2018-19.

Under the changes in last year’s Budget, Sam would pay $200 less tax compared with 2017 18 rates and thresholds. The changes in this Budget build on this to increase the amount of tax relief by $55, providing total tax relief of $255 for 2018-19.

Women’s Safety and Security

Combating violence against women and children remains one of our Government’s top priorities, as part of our plan to keep Australians safe.

We are proud to be making the single largest ever Commonwealth investment in the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 with funding of $328 million invested in initiatives to address domestic and family violence. This brings the total invested by our Government to more than $840 million since 2013.

Preventing violence is fundamental to keeping Australian families strong, safe and together, and building the Australian economy. That’s why we are investing in Australia’s first national prevention strategy.

The $328 million Australian Government contribution to the Fourth Action Plan focuses on key areas where the Commonwealth is best placed to contribute to creating real and lasting change to reduce violence against women and their children.

This covers the following major investment areas:

  • $68.3 million for prevention strategies to help eradicate domestic and family violence in our homes, workplaces, communities and clubs
  • $78.4 million to provide safe places for people impacted by domestic and family violence
  • $82.2 million to improve and build on frontline services to keep women and children safe
  • $64.0 million for 1800RESPECT, the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service
  • $35.0 million in support and prevention strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

The Fourth Action Plan and our commitment to it represents a significant step in the journey towards an Australia free from family, domestic and sexual violence.

The 2019-20 Budget also includes the $10 million Online Safety Grants Program. This program is targeted at enabling non government organisations to deliver practical education programs about online safety for Australian children and families.

The Budget will also fund a Single National Mechanism for Commonwealth Legal Assistance. The Government will provide $1.2 billion over three years from 2020-21 in Commonwealth funding for legal assistance services, including services delivered by Legal Aid Commissions, Community Legal Centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.

The funding will be delivered through a new, single mechanism for Commonwealth legal assistance funding and, subject to negotiations with the states and territories, will allow for a more collaborative, innovative and effective legal assistance sector in order to address the legal needs of the most vulnerable Australians.

Key initiatives to protect women and their children since 2015

2015

Women’s Safety Package

$101.2 million in funding for practical immediate action to keep women and children safe including improving frontline support and services, leveraging innovative technologies to keep women safe, and providing educational resources to help change community attitudes to violence and abuse.

Stop it at the Start Campaign

$16.7 million from the Government to co-fund the national Stop it at the Start campaign with the States and Territories to tackle the attitudes that ultimately lead to violence against women and their children as part of the
$100 million announced in the 2013 Second Action Plan.

 

2016

National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children — Third Action Plan

$100 million to fund the Third Action Plan, a further step in the Government’s 12 year National Plan to achieve a significant and sustained reduction in violence against women and their children. The Third Action Plan includes prevention and early intervention programs, frontline services and support, and legal services to support women experiencing violence.

 

2017

2017-18 Budget

$66.5 million to improve outcomes for those interacting with the legal system due to domestic violence. This funds family law courts to employ more family consultants (including qualified social workers and psychologists) to provide child-focused interventions in cases where there are allegations of domestic violence. This includes funding to Community Legal Centres which provide support for victims of domestic violence.

 

2018

2018-19 Budget

$23.4 million in the 2018-19 Budget for initiatives that address women’s safety, with $1.2 million over four years to expand the eSafety Women program; $4 million for a penalties regime targeting perpetrators and content hosts who share intimate images without consent; $11.5 million in 2018-19 and 2019-20 for 1800RESPECT; and $6.7 million for the continued delivery of DV-alert, a national, accredited training program for community frontline workers such as social workers, community workers and health workers.

Women’s Economic Security Statement and 2018-19 MYEFO

$67.2 million to address women’s safety as part of the Women’s Economic Security Statement, $22.6 million to extend Family Advocacy Support Services, $2.5 million to continue pilots of legally assisted and culturally appropriate dispute resolution, $8.3 million in additional funding for 1800RESPECT, and $500,000 to support the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces.

 

2019

2019-20 Budget

The 2019-20 Budget delivers $10 million for an Online Safety Grants Program to deliver practical, on-the-ground improvements to online safety for Australian children and families, $1.2 billion in Commonwealth funding for legal assistance services delivered through a new, single mechanism to help the most vulnerable Australians.

National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children — Fourth Action Plan

The Fourth Action Plan and our commitment to it represents a significant step in the journey towards an Australia free from family, domestic and sexual violence. The Australian Government’s record $328 million investment to support the Fourth Action Plan includes $68.3 million for prevention strategies to help eradicate domestic and family violence in our homes, workplaces, communities and clubs, $78.4 million to provide safe places for people impacted by domestic and family violence, $82.2 million to improve and build on frontline services to keep women and children safe, $64 million for 1800RESPECT, and $35 million in support and prevention strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

 

 

Women’s Health and Wellbeing

The Government is committed to providing health care that supports women at every stage of life.

The 2019-20 Budget builds on the Government’s strong budget management, ensuring continued record investment in health care for Australians. Australia’s more than 12 million women continue to benefit from the Government’s investment in health care.

The 2019-20 Budget delivers additional investment in the health and well-being of Australian women. Specific women’s health measures include:

  • Indexing x-ray and ultrasound services on the Medicare Benefits Schedule from 1 July 2020 at a cost of $198.6 million which will cover ultrasounds for pregnancy.
  • Listing new diagnostic imaging services on the Medicare Benefits Schedule used in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer at a cost of $32.6 million over four years, saving patients up to $1,500 per scan.
  • Prioritising perinatal mental health with $26.3 million over five years from 2018-19 for a new Perinatal Mental Health and Wellbeing Program.
  • Improving health system responses to family and domestic violence with a total of $9.6 million included in the Fourth Action Plan package to improve training for GPs to respond to domestic violence and trial how Primary Health Networks can build the capacity of the primary health care sector to address domestic and family violence.

Women’s sport

The last two years have seen landmark achievements for women in sport across cricket, soccer, AFL, rugby, netball and basketball. Record crowds turned out to celebrate the achievements of Australia’s female sports stars, while increased broadcast exposure saw elite women’s sport delivered to more Australian households.

The 2019-20 Budget provides $150 million over four years from 2019-20 to support the development of female change room facilities at sporting grounds and community swimming facilities across Australia.

Sport Australia’s 2017 report Women and Girls Participation found that when it comes to non-sport related physical activity, women aged 15 years and above have a higher participation rate than men, but women are less active than men when it comes to participating in sport. 82 per cent of adult women participate in some form of physical activity weekly, but this drops to only 41 per cent participating five times a week.

The Government is also contributing to the development of women’s sport facilities. This includes $30 million in 2018-19 to support the construction of a new Brisbane Lions Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) facility in Queensland and to support the redevelopment of Carlton Football Club’s Ikon Park in Victoria, building on its existing AFLW facilities and making it a focal point for the development and growth of women’s sport.

The Australian Government continues to actively support the Women Leaders in Sport Program with funding of $814,200 in 2019-20 through the Women’s Leadership Development Program and Sport Australia.