House debates

Tuesday, 28 November 2023

Questions without Notice

Cost of Living

2:57 pm

Photo of Carina GarlandCarina Garland (Chisholm, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. How are the Albanese Labor government's actions to relieve cost-of-living pressures specifically helping Australian women?

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Chisholm for her question. The government has put enhancing economic opportunity for women at the heart of our agenda, and it is making a difference. Women's workforce participation is at a record high, providing more economic security for women. Today the Workplace Gender Equality Agency announced the gender pay gap has decreased by 1.1 per cent this year. This is the second-largest single-year drop since the agency started collecting employer data in 2014. The government's work to demand more transparency and accountability in reporting the gender pay gap is having an impact. The executive CEO of the agency, Mary Wooldridge, said:

Publishing gender pay gaps requires employers to understand their unique challenges, develop a purpose-built approach to gender equality and then take intentional and sustained action.

We know there's more work to do. We won't rest till we have closed the gender pay gap. Let's not forget that, under the last government, women lost out. On their watch Australia fell to 70th in the world for women's economic participation and opportunity. Under this government, Australia's world gender equality ranking has jumped up 17 places, from 43rd to 26th, the largest increase since the index began way back in 2006.

It's not surprising, because of the action that we're taking—expanding paid parental leave; making child care cheaper; implementing all 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work report; establishing 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave; investing $2.3 billion to end domestic violence; funding a 15 per cent pay rise for aged-care workers, who are overwhelmingly women; and improving the single parenting payment, helping 52,000 single mums. All of these measures are making a difference. They all are what has been seen as low-hanging fruit of economic growth and productivity gains. Issues such as support for child care are not welfare; they're about economic participation and productivity improvements, and they make a difference not just for women but for the entire nation.