Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Women’s Budget Statement 2010-11

Over the last two and a half years the Australian Government has introduced the practical supports and framework to progress equality between women and men.

New initiatives contained within the 2010-11 Budget complement our ongoing efforts to improve women’s long term social and economic outcomes.

The Government’s superannuation reforms under the Stronger, Fairer, Simpler Tax Plan for our Future will deliver substantial improvements in women’s retirement savings.

From 2013/14, the superannuation guarantee will increase to 9.25 per cent from the current 9.0 per cent and then rise incrementally to 12 per cent by 2019/20.

The super guarantee will also be extended to 75 year olds, up from 70 at present.

These changes are particularly important for women whose superannuation balance is often affected by significant periods outside the paid workforce.

Women’s work patterns differ from men’s – especially for the 80 per cent of Australian women who have children.

Mothers take time off to give birth and take care of their young children. When comparing work lives, men are in paid work for an average of 39 years whilst women average 20 years.

Under these reforms, a women aged 30 now on average weekly earnings with a broken work pattern will have an extra $78,000 upon retirement.

The Government has also announced that it will provide a super contribution of up to $500 annually to those earning under $37,000, while retaining the current co-contribution scheme.

On average, women have only around 60 per cent of the superannuation balances of men, so these changes would greatly benefit the women of Australia.

And we’re helping over 50s top up their super balances when they’re most able by keeping their $50,000 concessional contributions cap.

The establishment of the National Health and Hospitals Network includes significant investment in the training and skill development of the health workforce.

Boosting the quality of child care and early childhood education will also enable parents, mostly women, to participate in paid work while their children receive quality care.

An additional $154 million funding over four years for legal aid commissions, community legal centres and Indigenous legal services will help increase the availability of legal assistance generally, including for women facing legal problems.