Labor Budget backs Australian women

Australian women are front and centre in Labor's second Budget with the most significant single year investment in women's equality in at least the last 40 years.

At the election, Labor committed to improve the lives of women as a priority for the nation and this Budget demonstrates how serious the Albanese Government is about delivering on that commitment.

Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher, said that the Albanese Labor Government was delivering on its promises to Australian women. 

"This Budget is a significant investment in Australian women and is delivering programs and policies that are designed to echo long beyond this term of Parliament and permanently shift the dial on women's equality."

"Investing in women's safety is indisputable, investing in women who are most disadvantaged is the right thing to do, investing in programs that help get women back to work is common sense, and investing in wages for women is good economics."

This Budget continues the process of assessing the impact of Budget decisions on women through an expanded application of gender impact analysis on key policy proposals. 

We know that we cannot solve the inequality that women face in this country in one Budget or even one term of Parliament, but we can continue to make progress towards this ultimate goal and this Budget does exactly that by removing some long-term barriers faced by women.

The full Albanese Labor Government's Women's Budget Statement is available on the Treasury Budget Website and a summary of the key initiatives is below.

Women's economic equality

The Albanese Government is making investments to support economic inclusion and provide targeted cost-of-living relief for those who are facing the greatest hardship, including:

  • $1.9 billion to expand the eligibility for the Parenting Payment (Single) to single principal carers, the majority of whom are women, with a youngest dependent child aged 8 to under 14 years of age;
  • $2.7 billion to increase the maximum payment rates of Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 15 per cent for all recipients, with single women making up almost half of recipients;
  • $4.9 billion to increase support for people receiving working age and student payments, including JobSeeker; and
  • Abolishing the ParentsNext Program from 1 July 2024 and immediately pausing all compulsory requirements for participants as we design a new voluntary program that better meets the needs of parents and sets them up for success.

We are also supporting women's economic equality and helping to close the gender pay gap with investments to support highly feminised workforces, including:

  • Backing a 15 per cent increase to the minimum wage for aged care workers, over 85 per cent of whom are women;
  • Increased funding for community services, many with highly feminised workforces – including for organisations delivering women's safety initiatives;
  • $8.6 million for the Australian Skills Guarantee, which includes national targets for women in apprenticeships, traineeships and cadetships on major government projects;
  • $91.3 million to boost the mental healthcare workforce through additional psychology placements, the majority of which are women;
  • $72.4 million to build and retain the early childhood education and care workforce, 92 per cent of whom are women; and
  • $67.5 million to support homelessness services during the transition to the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, supporting jobs that are overwhelmingly done by women, including to assist women and children experiencing domestic and family violence.

Women's safety

Women cannot be equal if they are not safe. This Budget builds on the Government's record $1.7 billion investment to end violence against women and children in October, and includes:

  • $589.3 million in further investment in women's safety, including to support implementation of the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children. This brings the total funding for women's safety over the last two Budgets to $2.29 billion.
  • Funding for women's safety in this Budget includes:
    • $262.6 million to address violence against First Nations women and children, including $194 million for the Dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan.
    • $14.7 million to prevent sexual violence and improve justice responses to victim-survivors of sexual violence;
    • $46.5 million to expand two highly successful family law property pilot programs, which improve the family law system for separating families;
    • $159 million to extend the Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Responses National Partnership Agreement; and
    • $8.5 million for initiatives aimed at early intervention and support for men who want to stop using violence.
  • $57.3 million to support implementation of the Set the Standard: Report on the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary workplaces; and
  • $134.1 million to support the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to continue their important work to support women and children who experience online harm.

Women's health and wellbeing

The Government is making investments to support women's health and wellbeing, including:

  • $26.4 million to support health and medical research focusing on women's health to develop targeted treatments and improve health outcomes;
  • $11.3 million in support for breastfeeding, including to extend the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood's role to maintain and expand delivery of donor milk across Australia, and to support the Australian Breastfeeding Association's National Breastfeeding Helpline;
  • $16.8 million to introduce a new MBS item for an EndoPredict® brand gene expression profiling test, to determine a patient's risk of recurrent breast cancer;
  • $3.5 million over two years from 2023-24 to the Glen for Women, which provides culturally appropriate alcohol and other drug treatment services to First Nations women;
  • $6.2 million in 2023-24 to support children to build and maintain a positive body image and reduce body dissatisfaction and appearance pressures;
  • $2.8 million in 2023-24 to ensure Australians can continue to access support for eating disorders; and
  • $2.1 million over two years from 2023–24 to support women and girls' participation in sports talent and development programs to increase women's representations in coaching, officiating and sports administration.

    As at 9 May 2023.