Single mothers on low incomes and older women at risk of homelessness were overlooked in the federal budget, with the coalition spending 30 times more on tax cuts than it did on women’s economic security.
The Australian Council of Social Service has found the budget earlier this month provided a boost for women’s safety but fell short of what was needed for women to achieve economic security.
ACOSS said the budget locked in gender inequality by failing to address the fact that tax, employment and superannuation systems were stacked in favour of men.
“It does nothing to specifically support single mothers on low incomes or older women struggling to find paid work and facing homelessness,” its report said.
“To help women on low incomes, we needed to see social security payments brought above the poverty line, employment services that deal with gender and age discrimination, and investment in affordable housing.
“Instead, $30 billion a year is being spent on income and business tax cuts, which will further entrench gender inequality and endanger future funding for services that women rely on.”
The National Foundation for Australian Women has released a separate analysis identifying shortfalls in the federal budget.
The foundation has recommended the coalition establish a women’s ministerial forum to guide spending and incorporate a gender lens as part of its decision making.
The twin reports were released ahead of two weeks of budget estimates hearings, where senators will grill ministers and department officials on what was billed as a women’s budget.
Outside Parliament House, frontline workers from Newcastle displayed 150 white dresses symbolising the lives of women murdered in domestic violence incidents.