Ensuring women and men have equal opportunity to participate in society and the economy is critical for the long term prosperity of our nation.
Over the last four years, this Government has been working hard to introduce practical supports to improve women’s lives – including increasing families’ choices through initiatives such as additional child care benefits and paid parental leave. We have also boosted women’s economic security through the introduction of the Fair Work Act 2009 and superannuation reforms.
This year, we have delivered groundbreaking reforms to reduce domestic and family violence and improve the outcomes for women in the workplace
Most Australian women want the choice to pursue paid employment and be active members of their families, at a range of different points in their lives. Many men today also want to play a greater role in raising children than in earlier generations.
This Government believes that families should be supported in making their own choices about combining work and family.
Measures in the Federal Budget 2011-2012 represent significant steps in advancing gender equality in this country, to the benefit of all Australians.
A range of measures in this Budget will provide greater opportunity for women to participate more in education, the workforce and the community, with a particular focus on disadvantaged Australians such as jobless families and teenage parents.
We are providing more support for Australian families, including through an investment of $771.9 million over five years to help families meet the higher costs of raising older children and encourage more teenagers to stay in school.
$80 million over four years is being invested to support up to 31,000 training places for single and teenage parents on income support.
We have demonstrated our commitment to addressing mental illness through our $2.2 billion National Mental Health Reform package.
An additional $11.2 million over four years will give the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency the resources it needs to drive gender equality in Australian workplaces.
This Women’s Budget Statement shows that steps can be taken to advance equality, even when returning the Budget to surplus in 2012-2013.
Kate Ellis, Minister for the Status of Women