Archives for May 2014

Women’s Agenda – Budget 2014

Report:  Budget 2014 will hurt no matter what kind of woman you are:

Read the report here – Womens Agenda_27May2014

or visit –

http://www.womensagenda.com.au/talking-about/top-stories/report-budget-2014-will-hurt-no-matter-what-kind-of-woman-you-are/201405264072#.U4O3ufmSx8E

Budget 2014 – Women the biggest losers!

The biggest losers from the 2014 Federal Budget are women from virtually all walks of life, a detailed and disturbing analysis of the implications of the 2014-2015 Budget has found.

The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW), a leading non-partisan women’s advocacy group has found that:

  • An unemployed single mother with one eight-year-old child loses $54 per week or 12 per cent their disposable income.
  • Single mothers earning around two-thirds of the average wage lose between 5.6 per cent and 7 per cent of their disposable income. 
  • A single-income couple with two school-age children and average earnings loses $82 a week or 6 per cent of their disposable income.
  • An unemployed 23-year-old female loses $47 a week or 18 per cent of her disposable income. 
  •  For employed women using Family Day Care an immediate price rise in the order of $30+ per week per child is likely.
  • The increase in child care fees for parents on JET (Jobs, Education & Training) Child Care Fee Assistance and reduction in hours of JET subsidised care available will discourage participation in work and training.
  • Changes to university funding and housing security are likely to impact on women disproportionately.

How the budget fails

Read the full Media Release here –  Women the biggest losers media release FINAL

The detailed analysis can be found here – Budget 2014 NFAW gender lens (final)

Federal budget: what it means for women, parents and families

“Staying at home should be a parent’s choice but there are limits on how much support the taxpayer can give,” Treasurer Joe Hockey says.

He wants to give people over 50 “every opportunity to participate in the workforce”, and says “Australians under 30 should be earning or learning”.

This will be achieved through carrots and sticks, respectively. Unfortunately for many older women, they may not qualify for help unless they’ve been on unemployment benefits or Disability Support Pension for six months.

Young women are more likely than young men to be in education or training, but even graduates may find themselves waiting six months for unemployment benefits.

Higher levels of cost-sharing for university and other studies through changes to HELP may adversely affect education participation.

There will be reduced income eligibility for Family Tax Benefits Part B, and the payment will cease when the child reaches school age. Rates will be on hold for a time. This is intended to encourage women to get a job.

The Paid Parental Leave Scheme (once it passes the Senate) will help women return to work and improve their retirement savings, he adds.

It appears meanwhile that negotiations are still on-going with states and territories about harmonising and folding up their various statutory schemes and putting a dollar figure on their transfer to the Abbott scheme.  (States are to transfer agreed money to the Commonwealth.) It seems a bill is definitely proposed for this session of Parliament – aiming for Royal Assent before June 30.

Given the very major reductions proposed in Commonwealth funding to states and territories for their schools and hospitals, states might be not be keen to pass over to the Commonwealth significant money to assist a Commonwealth paid parental leave take-over, and state employed nurses and teachers, among others, may arc up if folding their paid parental leave schemes into the Abbott scheme means any losses to individuals.

Child care offers some budget savings, ( although the JET scheme will be extended). These savings are mostly at the expense of better career and training opportunities for child care workers – some of the lowest paid female workers in the nation.

The Commission of Audit recommended scaling down the Abbott paid parental leave scheme eligibility and payment level back to average weekly earnings – with savings going to expand child care – while suggesting a means testing for child care fee relief that would virtually rule out any woman earning more than around $50,000 a year. This could be counterproductive if every mother should be working. We must wait on the Productivity Commission for some more realistic child care options. It is due to report in July.

And Commonwealth provision of incentives to create an expansion of affordable housing looks to be over, something of deep concern for low- to middle-income women. Yet there is no sign of action on the blight of negative gearing, which is a factor in forcing first-home buyers out of the market.

Women owners of small businesses may be able to contain their excitement that $2.8 million (over four years) is allocated for the Department of Finance to work with small businesses to develop training and other strategies to facilitate access to Government procurement arrangements.

Women concerned about the well-being of women in developing nations may be distressed by the savings of $7.6 billion over five years from development assistance, and reversing decisions to join the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

And, finally, the very modest funding for the Office for Women’s Leadership and Development Strategy will have to achieve savings of $1.6 million over four years. The decision on where the cuts will fall is left to the Minister for Women (who fortuitously has declared himself to be a feminist).

Date:  May 13, 2014 – 9:09 pm
Marie Coleman

Federal budget 2014:      full coverage

The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership

The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth Century Australia was launched on 2 May at the National Library, Canberra by the National  Librarian, Anne-Marie Schwirtlich.

This is an exciting new online resource that documents the many and varied ways that Australian women have contributed to Australian public life across the twentieth century.

Rather than focus on the women who exercise leadership in contemporary  Australia, the encyclopedia focuses on their foremothers, the women who occupied leadership positions during the twentieth century, women of the ‘pre-Google’ age. The Encyclopaedia had its origins in an Australian Research Council Linkage grant under the leadership of Professor Patricia Grimshaw of the University of Melbourne. The National Foundation for Australian Women was one of the industry  partners and the project has resulted in an additional 425 entries to the Australian Women’s Register (http://www.womenaustralia.info) . The Encyclopaedia can be found at http://www.womenaustralia.info/leaders