It was only back in February this year when the first announcement came that told us that the NSW Government was finally listening to women. More importantly, it was taking gender equality seriously. Treasurer Matt Kean said the government had appointed an Expert Reference Panel to lead the Women’s Economic Opportunities Review.
Chaired by Sam Mostyn AO, President of Chief Executive Women, other members of the panel include: CEO of the Muslim Women Association Maha Abdo OAM, partner at EY Port Jackson Partners Blair Comley, CEO of The Infrastructure Collaborative and The Exchange Jillian Kilby, Co-Chair of the Council on Early Childhood Development Leslie Loble, and writer and teacher Daisy Turnbull.
Matt Kean said an intergenerational report found the economy would be 8 per cent larger by 2060 if women’s participation in the workforce reached parity with men. It seems the penny has dropped that gender equality isn’t just good for women, it’s good for the economy.
Because of the panel – and a tireless and fearless Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor – the 2022 Budget was a robust leap forward for women across the state.
“I am proud to be part of a government that is delivering a landmark package that will support women right across NSW. Women have spoken and the Government has listened,” Mrs Taylor said.
“This package will create a more even gender mix across industries, increase workplace flexibility, support women to return to work and entrepreneurs to grow their own businesses.
“A big shout-out to the fantastic Expert Reference Panel that led the Women’s Economic Opportunities Review and to the thousands of women who helped shape this Budget.”
So What do we Get?
The NSW Budget allocates $16.5 billion over 10 years in programs that will benefit women, including the following investments over four years:
$4.6 billion to increase women’s participation in the workforce, including:
$1.7 billion towards introducing universal pre-kindergarten
$1.3 billion fee relief for preschool
$775 million towards boosting accessibility and affordability of childcare
$32 million ($30 million in grants and $2 million in administration) to provide wraparound support for women to return to work
$69.4 million to improve the experiences of women in the workforce, including:
$21 million to increase women’s participation in the Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) workforce and enhance workplace safety
$20.2 million to triple the number of women in construction by 2030, from 5% to 15%
Enhanced paid parental leave for public sector employees, including two weeks bonus leave where parents share leave more equally
$30.6 million to support women in small business and entrepreneurship, including:
$15 million to provide tailored support to help women build and grow their businesses
$12 million towards the Carla Zampatti Venture Capital Fund ($10 million for the Fund and $2 million for establishment and operation) for female led start-ups
$3.7 million to monitor the proportion of women-led businesses in government procurement and promote equitable practices in businesses
$150.5 million to increase women’s health and wellbeing, including:
$80 million to support affordable fertility treatments
$40.3 million for menopause hubs
$25 million to upgrade lighting and build female change rooms at sporting grounds
$5.2 million to support post-natal mental health
$108.9 million to increase respect for women and women’s financial security, including:
$43.6 million for wraparound support for victim-survivors of domestic violence
$30 million for lighting, CCTV and foot traffic upgrades and an anti-street harassment campaign
$18 million for expanding AV links to allow domestic violence complainants to give remote evidence
$9.7 million for a SafeWork taskforce to reduce sexual harassment in the workplace
$8 million for court appointed questioners for cross examinations of DV complainants
Shared equity scheme for low-income single parents and older singles, especially older single women
Let’s hope the other states follow their lead.