Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Budget 2005-06: Measures for Women

The 2005-06 Budget delivers on the Howard Government’s election commitment to address the ongoing issues and differing needs of Australian women.

The Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women’s Issues, Senator Kay Patterson, said the Budget recognises the challenges faced by contemporary women and the measures respond to the many roles women fulfil as they move through life.

“The Howard Government has introduced measures in the Budget to further support women participating in their community both economically and socially,” Senator Patterson said.

“The innovative $3.6 billion Welfare to Work measures will assist all Australians with school aged children to engage in meaningful employment.

“Child care is central to this package, and increased child care places will assist parents of working age to either remain in, or re enter, the workforce.

“The measures will support the work first approach of the innovative welfare reform package and shows the Howard Government’s continued commitment to the development of Australia’s parents and children. They will also meet projected unmet demand over the next four years.

“Over the next four years there will be an increase of over 84,300 Outside School Hours Care places, 2,500 Family Day Care places and 1,000 In-Home Care places.

“The Howard Government will invest around $210 million to support additional places in areas of Australia with the most need.

“The Jobs Education and Training (JET) Child Care programme will be increased and will support around 52,000 low income families in meeting the ‘gap’ in child care fees.

“Furthermore, some parents will be given practical support to return to the workforce as child carers, which will address some work shortages and respond to increased demand.

“The Child Care Benefit (CCB) work, training, study test will be altered so that to be eligible for more than 24 hours of CCB a week, both members of a couple must demonstrate they have ongoing work, or work related activity, of around 15 hours a week.

“Through the Budget, the Howard Government has further strengthened its support for families, childcare and carers, thus enabling women to balance their work and family responsibilities better.

“Measures to improve women’s health and assist with coping with our ageing population include research into the early detection of breast cancer; better access to Pap tests for women in regional and rural areas; assistance in reducing maternal smoking rates; and additional assistance for Indigenous mothers and their children.

“The Women’s Safety Agenda will see more funding than ever before, a record $75.7 million over four years, to work towards the elimination of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“The Agenda will continue to build on the Partnerships Against Domestic Violence initiative and the National Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault programs.

“Furthermore, a new initiative for women will provide training and support for nurses in regional and rural areas on how to identify and respond to domestic violence situations.

“The Howard Government will also re-run the successful Violence Against Women. Australia Says No campaign.

“Another example of the Howard Government supporting Australian women is the Women’s Leadership and Development Programme, funded with $15 million over four years.

“This Programme will work towards increasing the number of women in leadership roles through leadership training, Australia-wide communication and consultation with women and support for research on issues relevant to women.

The Women’s Budget Kit is available from the Office for Women website, or can be ordered free of charge from National Mail and Marketing by phoning 02 6269 1000.