26 September 2023

New approach to Budget to gender gaps

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The Federal Government has introduced ‘gender responsive budgeting’, aiming to deliver gender equality across the whole Budget process.

In the Women’s Budget Statement: 2022-23 October, Minister for Women, Katy Gallagher and Treasurer, Jim Chalmers outlined a range of initiatives aimed at “moving the dial” to advance gender equality under three key themes of women’s economic equality; ending violence against women; and gender equality, health and wellbeing.

“Gender responsive budgeting creates better and fairer outcomes, and ensures women, men and gender diverse people have equal access to opportunities and resources,” Senator Gallagher (pictured right) and Mr Chalmers (pictured left) said.

“The 2022–23 October Budget includes significant commitments and investments to support structural changes to systematically advance gender equality and further strengthen the Australian economy,” they said.

“It delivers more affordable child care, expands Paid Parental Leave, amends workplace relations laws to help narrow the gender pay gap and increases funding to end violence against women.”

To ensure that gender equality is at the core of policy development and implementation, the Ministers said the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women would be strengthened and empowered, while capability across the Australian Public Service (APS) would be built.

As a first step towards gender responsive budgeting, they said the Office for Women had been leading a pilot to conduct gender impact assessments on select policy proposals during the Budget process.

“The insights from this pilot will inform next steps and the evolution of the approach over future Budgets, and consideration of the most appropriate model for the Australian context,” Senator Gallagher and Mr Chalmers said.

The Women’s Budget Statement includes $4.7 billion over four years to implement the Government’s Plan for Cheaper Child Care to make early childhood education more affordable and reduce barriers to women’s workforce participation.

A further $531.6 million over four years is to go towards supporting more equitable distribution of work and care between parents through changes to Paid Parental Leave.

Acknowledging that gender inequality is a primary driver of gender‑based violence, the Ministers committed $1.7 billion over six years to end violence against women and children through the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 20222032.

“These initial investments, while a powerful start, will not achieve gender equality alone,” they said.

“To build on these investments and develop additional policies to advance gender equality, the Government will introduce a National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality.”

The 79-page Women’s Budget Statement can be accessed at this PS News link.

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