Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

Launch of the Women’s Budget Statement 2011-12

Making sure women and men have an equal opportunity to participate in society and the economy is critical for the long term prosperity of our nation.

The Australian Government’s 2011-12 Budget will create opportunities for all Australians to actively participate in the workforce and ensures prosperity is shared amongst even the most disadvantaged.

Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis was joined by Treasurer Wayne Swan today to officially launch the Women’s Budget Statement 2011-2012.

As announced by Minister Ellis earlier this year, the Australian Government is implementing a package of reforms to improve the effectiveness and relevance of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA).

The 2011-12 Budget provides the necessary funding to deliver these reforms, with an additional investment of $11.2 million over four years for EOWA to drive gender equality in Australian workplaces. EOWA is a key part of the Government’s plans to improve choices for women and men and better utilising the significant untapped productivity potential in women’s workforce participation.

The Women’s Budget Statement 2011-12 outlines other key Budget initiatives that impact on women and their families. These include:

  • $2.2 billion for vital national mental health reforms, which includes a doubling of the number of Family Mental Health Support Services for families with young children and teenagers. Over the past four years, 62 per cent of people assisted by Family Mental Health Support Services have been women;
  • $771.9 million to help women and their families to meet the higher costs of raising older children and encourage more teenagers to stay in school;
  • $80 million over four years to support up to 31,000 flexible and vocationally oriented training places for single and teenage parents on income support, the majority of whom are young mothers; and
  • $71.1 million to help jobless families in targeted locations get off welfare and back into work. Around 84 per cent of jobless families receiving income support for the last 12 months are single parent families and 90 percent of these families are headed by single mothers.

The Australian Government is also making a considerable ongoing investment in the continued implementation of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, which brings together the efforts of Commonwealth, State, and Territory governments to make a real and sustained reduction in the levels of violence against women.

These investments build on the practical supports to improve women’s lives that the Australian Government has achieved over the past four years, including a record investment in child care affordability assistance and the introduction of a national Paid Parental Leave Scheme.

The Australian economy needs more skilled workers if we are going to successfully take advantage of the minerals boom and manage the challenges of our ageing population. This presents a great opportunity for women who have been out of the workforce for a long time and who may face barriers to re-entering the workforce.

The Women’s Budget Statement 2011-12 shows that steps are being taken to give women the support they need to find and keep a decent job and to support them with the cost of raising a family, while still returning the Budget to surplus by 2013.

The Women’s Budget Statement 2011-12 is available at: