The Federal Government Will Spend $3.4 Billion on Women's Health, Safety and Financial Security
Part of the 2021–22 Budget, it covers cervical and breast cancer screening programs, endometriosis support, services for women and children who are experiencing violence, and childcare.
When the Australian Government announced its 2020–21 Federal Budget in October last year — later than usual due to the pandemic — it looked more than a little bare for half of the population. But in the newly arrived 2021–22 Budget (which was announced last night, on Tuesday, May 11), $3.4 billion has been committed to supporting women. This time around, Aussie ladies aren't being told that they can just take advantage of new roads and infrastructure.
The new Budget does obviously include funding for roads, rail and infrastructure projects — $15.2 billion, in fact — but the money allocated to women's health, safety and financial security isn't insignificant. And, it's being directed towards key areas, including cervical and breast cancer screening programs, endometriosis support, services for women and children who are experiencing violence, and childcare.
In the health and wellbeing space, $351.6 million will be spent on maternal, sexual and reproductive health, as well as ageing, chronic conditions, preventative health and mental health. Of that, $100 million will go to cervical and breast cancer screening programs, and $47 million to perinatal and postnatal anxiety and depression services. Endometriosis, which effects at least one in nine Aussie women, will be covered as part of a four-year $5 million package for education and pain management programs targeting the condition.
Women's safety is also a big, important and well-deserving focus, with $1.1 billion allocated to initiatives to support victims of domestic violence, and to tackle workplace harassment and online abuse. That includes general support for women and children leaving violent situations, emergency accommodation, and legal assistance services. $20.5 million has been committed to preventing and addressing address sexual harassment in the workplace, $6 million to boost the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, and $26.2 million to online safety — the latter of which covers awareness campaigns, support for children being bullied online, and software that will investigate intimate images that are shared without consent.
And, because women in the workplace and childcare are interconnected topics, an extra $1.7 billion will be put towards the latter. It'll cover an increase childcare subsidies for families with more than one child, to become effective from July 2022. Obviously, childcare really shouldn't be badged as just a women's issue — it's a matter for all parents, regardless of gender — but the aim of the funding is to increase women's participation in the workforce.
For more information about the 2021–22 Federal Budget, head to the government's website.
Published on May 12, 2021 by Sarah Ward