The Greens are calling on the Government to accept all recommendations of the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce (WEET) in the May Budget, and not make women wait while wealthy men and submarines are prioritised.
The Women's Economic Equality Taskforce have asked for urgent action on 6 key priority recommendations, to redress gender wealth inequality, all of which the Greens support.
Lines attributable to Greens leader in the Senate and spokesperson on Women, Larissa Waters
“The Government asked the WEET for advice about how to deliver women’s financial security, they can’t now ignore the sensible advice on policy reforms to deliver it.
“The women of Australia expect and deserve to be prioritised after nine years of Coalition neglect, and this government can’t claim to be better for women if they make us wait while prioritising tax cuts for the wealthy and submarines.
“This budget is about choices. Choose to implement expert recommendations to help women, children, and those most at-risk or already living in poverty; or continue to cry poor while funding the Stage 3 tax cuts and spending billions on submarines.
“Each of the six key recommendations for women’s economic security were already Greens policy and we back them all.
“We are pleased to see reversing the Gillard government’s decision to cut off Parenting Payment Single when kids turn 8 as a priority recommendation. Extending parenting support to 16 years would cost $1.4 billion dollars - a fraction of a fraction of the Stage 3 tax cuts and AUKUS spending - but it would be life changing for 500,000 single mums and their kids.
“We strongly support the Taskforce’s call to scrap the degrading, punitive and coercive ParentsNext program. The Greens tried to disallow it back in 2018, and the program has done untold damage since then.
“Just last month the government had the chance to support Greens amendments to their Paid Parental Leave bill and pay super on paid parental leave, costed at $200 million, yet they chose not to.
“Poverty is a policy choice. Right now, Labor is choosing to keep in place a woeful social security system that leaves millions of women, children, uni students and renters in poverty.
“The Labor Government has found $368 billion to spend on nuclear submarines and $254 billion in Stage 3 tax cuts for the rich, so has no excuse to reject reforms that will help women struggling to pay rent and put food on the table.
“Labor say they're on the side of struggling Australians - it's time they show it, and use that money to make life a bit easier for women and children doing it tough.”
In full: Letter to Minister Gallagher re Women's Economic Equality Taskforce advice for May 2023 Budget (pmc.gov.au)
Six priorities identified by the WEET as urgent and targeted actions:
- Reinstatement of the Parenting Payment (Single) for women with children over eight. This will more appropriately classify single mothers as doing parenting work, rather than as being unemployed.
- Abolition of the Parents Next program. This should be accompanied by a commitment to reinvest in a new evidence-based program co-designed with young parents, and based in principles of encouragement, support, flexibility and meeting their needs.
- Abolition of the Childcare Subsidy Activity Test.
- Payment of Superannuation for primary carers while they are on Paid Parental Leave.
- Increase the rate of Commonwealth Rental Assistance to improve women’s immediate housing security stemming from the lack of affordable, appropriate, and safe housing options.
- Invest in an interim pay-rise for all early childhood educators and aged care workers in recognition of the historical undervaluation of their work and the urgent need to retain and attract workers to the sector.