Introduction to the Gender Lens on the October 2022-23 Budget
The first budget of the Albanese Government has signaled welcome changes in direction, particularly in moving toward an evidence-based Women’s Budget Statement and investment in projects that will work to mitigate climate change. It will take time for these initiatives to show changes in women’s economic wellbeing and safety, and this is recognised with costs, for example in child care, climate change and paid parental leave, being acknowledged as an investment in the future.
In this edition of the Gender Lens we have once again focused on the portfolio areas where the Government has made commitments during the election. In this streamlined version of the Gender Lens the usual intersectional analysis of the impact on young women, older women, CALD women and indigenous women is missing as we have not had the capacity to produce a full analysis of this mid-year budget. We also have not examined the detail of the $1.7 billion allocated to Women’s Safety. We plan to return to the full analysis in the May Budget.
In our review of the Wellbeing Budget Statement we have focused on how this intersects with Gender Responsive Budgeting, with particular reference to the portfolios that we have examined in this pared back Gender Lens.
We welcome the increased investment in childcare and the proposed changes to Paid Parental Leave, although important details are yet to be resolved by the new Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce.
There are some notable omissions in the Budget. We recognise the need to limit spending stimulus, but those least able to afford it are the most exposed to the rising cost of living under this budget.
The NFAW Gender Lens on the Budget project commenced in 2014 after the Abbott Government abolished the Women’s Budget Paper, although the gender impact analysis underlying the principle of gender responsive budgeting had not been evident for many years before that. This Government has signalled that it understands that policies affect men and women differently. It is still early stages, but we look forward to policies that are designed in a way that women are supported and not excluded.
Professor Helen Hodgson
Chair Social Policy Committee
Marie Coleman AO PSM
Advisor to Social Policy Committee
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Authorised by the National Foundation for Australian Women, Canberra: President Ms Jane Madden.