Senate debates

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Questions without Notice


2:20 pm

Photo of Jane HumeJane Hume (Victoria, Liberal Party, Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator Hughes for her question and for her enduring commitment to women's economic security. The Morrison government is proud to be making a record investment of $1.9 billion towards the economic security of Australia's women in this year's budget. This is part of a broader $3.4 billion package of targeted measures that will also improve women's safety and their health and wellbeing. Our measures have been designed to give more women more choices and more chances to participate in the workforce and secure their economic security, while they are working and also into retirement. We know that a comprehensive system of child care is the key to helping women return to the workforce and participate in the workforce, which is one of the best ways to ensure that women are economically secure. When you remove barriers to women's workforce participation, all Australians reap the benefits.

It's estimated that increasing women's workforce participation by just five per cent will increase Australia's real GDP by $20 billion over five years, and all Australians will benefit from a more prosperous Australia. It's not just women with children who benefit. Around two-thirds of women in the workforce with children under two use grandparents for informal support, and around a third of women use grandparents as their only support. By making child care more affordable and more accessible, we're also freeing up older women to return to the workforce to increase their lifetime earnings and to secure their economic future.

Women's workforce participation hit a record high of 61.8 per cent in March, but we know that it can go further. That's why we're investing an additional $1.7 billion in child care, building on the $10.3 billion that we already provide every year. We're removing the childcare subsidy's annual cap, with increased childcare subsidies available to two or more children, benefitting around 250,000 families.


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