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FEDERAL BUDGET FAILS TO ADDRESS GENDERED IMPACT OF COVID CRISIS ON WOMEN

Media Release 6th October 2020

The Federal Budget’s failure to address the disproportionate impact of the COVID crisis on women is a shameful omission that will hold women and the economy back in recovery, according to parent lobby group, The Parenthood.

“The Federal Budget totally ignores the impact of the Covid19 crisis on women and risks relegating a generation of Australian women into life-long economic insecurity and even poverty as a result,” said Executive Director Georgie Dent.

“This is despite the fact women have been on the frontline of this pandemic, helping Australia navigate this crisis, as nurses, teachers, carers, cleaners and educators, and despite the fact that women have lost hours and full-time employment in far greater numbers than men, all while their unpaid work at home has soared,

“It is insulting and made worse by the fact the Treasurer flagged $240 million, that is reportedly to be spent over five years, as a serious investment for women.

“The Federal Government cannot back up its claims of being focused on jobs while failing to design any female focused recovery efforts in this historic budget.

“If the government would genuinely like to support “job creation and entrepreneurialism” among women as the treasurer claimed, why was child care given just a single mention in his speech?

“One of the best ways of increasing women’s participation in the workforce and solving the ‘pink recession’ is providing universal access to, high-quality early learning and care.

“Investing more in early learning would pay dividends in creating additional employment for women, supporting more women into paid work and giving children the best start possible in life.

“Grattan Institute modelling has shown spending $5 billion on universal, high-quality early learning would deliver $11 billion in increased economic activity by helping women back into the workforce.

“Early learning is itself an industry with a predominantly female workforce and many of these workers, who are among the lowest paid in the country despite the essential education and care they provide, were left behind when JobKeeper was inexplicably removed prematurely for early learning educators.

“We also know when low and medium income families make savings on out-of-pocket costs for childcare, the benefit will flow directly into increased household spending and help stimulate our sluggish economy,” she said.

The Federal budget offers no additional funding for child care.

“The government is claiming it will spend a “record” $9billion on the childcare subsidy this financial year but that’s misleading. Last financial year it spent $8.3billion so this is merely a function of CPI and population growth rather than any meaningful change.”