Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

2009-10 Women’s Budget Statement: Supporting women in a time of economic challenge

The 2009-10 Women’s Budget Statement adopts the theme Supporting Women in a Time of Economic Challenge.

Economies across the world are experiencing one of the most significant economic downturns since the Great Depression.

Improving women’s economic and social outcomes is important to developing a stronger and more robust economy.

We must work together – women and men – if we are to progress equality and build prosperity.

This Budget supports jobs now, and invests in the future, to ensure the economy is well placed to make the most of the global recovery and to improve women’s and men’s economic prosperity.

This Budget contains some great news for Australian women and demonstrates the Government’s commitment to improving women’s long term social and economic outcomes.

The introduction of 18 weeks’ Government funded paid parental leave from 2011 is a long awaited win for Australian women.

This measure recognises the need to encourage women to stay connected to the workforce while ensuring Australian parents have the opportunity to spend time with their new babies.

Primary carers will be eligible for 18 weeks’ leave at the federal minimum wage. It can be shared between both parents.

The significant structural reform of the pension system will deliver timely and much needed support to Australian income support recipients, particularly single age pensioners and carers, the vast majority of whom are women.

Around 500,000 carers across Australia will receive a new, permanent, Carer Supplement to help them meet the significant financial challenges they face.

The Budget is further evidence that the Rudd Government delivers support to those who need it most while paving the way for a stronger and more robust economy. Now more than ever we need to address the inequalities that hold us back as a nation.

The Budget also includes significant changes to participation requirements for single parents, to recognise women’s caring responsibilities while encouraging workforce participation.

The 2009-10 Women’s Budget Statement outlines many of the ways in which the Government is supporting women and their families during this time of economic challenge.

Please visit the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs website to download a copy.