WhyNot

EC Unfiltered: Federal budget

 

What was a nice surprise for you to see included in this year’s budget and what do you feel it missed the mark on?

A boost up for women everywhere.

This year it was nice to see a serious uptake in spending on women’s issues. Last year the budget severely missed the mark, this year it was nice to see greater spending on women’s safety and economic security. 

The budget has pledged specific contributions to address violence against women, workplace sexual harassment, the accessibility and quality of women’s health services and strengthening economic security through childcare and education programs. This is important as it has the potential to increase the wellbeing and livelihoods of women as well as boosting economic participation which can increase GDP, potentially making everyone better off.

I believe there will be significant impacts made by the health and education programs. The budget pledges to reduce out of pocket costs for essential health treatments for women, with a massive boost for funding in sexual and reproductive health services. Having previously struggled to gain adequate information and care I believe the funding boost could have a significant impact for young women.

The budget pledged to increase funding for places at Indigenous girl’s academies, which can improve the economic security and labour force participation for Indigenous women by making it more accessible to complete high school.

I think the budget yet again missed the mark on climate action. As a young person I hope to have a sustainable future but yet again the budget did not service this. In comparison to promises made for women’s health the budget line for climate action feels empty. Climate action was just an aspect of the ‘resilient economy’ section, where most of the focus is on jobs and infrastructure. I expect a budget that reflects the needs of young Australians to have a much larger focus on Climate action and a renewable future.

Lily, NSW 21

Steps in the right direction.

I was excited to see the $2.3 billion commitment to building an accessible, person-centred, and preventative approach to our mental health and suicide prevention systems. As a result of the pandemic and increased mental health awareness and education campaigns, more Australians than ever are seeking help for their mental health, and it was great to see the federal budget commit to much needed reforms to meet this need. Whilst there is still more to be done, there are steps being made in a positive direction.

The big thing I see the budget missed the mark on would be the lack of commitment to the housing and homelessness crisis at a national level. Despite the positive response in extending funding for the Equal Renumeration Order Supplement for homelessness services, there is no commitment towards social housing, no plan to address housing affordability for young people, and no commitment made to develop a national strategy to end youth homelessness. The budget also missed the mark on it’s commitment to young people; failing to commit to funding AYAC past December 2021 and making no mention of the work done by the governments Youth Taskforce on a national policy framework.

Rhegan, WA

Last-ditch effort.

Honestly, I’m pretty mad about the budget. I feel like it is a last-ditch effort for the LNP to gain favour with the people of Australia before they call the next election, especially after their disastrous year of sexual harassment cases and corruption scandals. Many of the proposed budget increases will not be seen or felt until after the election and then only gradually over the next four years, such as aged care and education. There is $0 towards climate action and no strategies proposed but there is a climate reaction plan to assess risk and damage. The day after the budget was released, the LNP wasted no time in announcing its plans to build a $600 million gas plant in Kurri Kurri that will only employ 10 permanent positions and will only run two weeks out of every year.  I think they definitely missed the mark on climate action here. The gas plant does not contribute to employment, still has devastating long-term affects to the environment, and frankly seems like a waste of money that could be used to help our country heal in a multitude of different ways.

It was nice they finally gave women a whole section in their budget though!

Lydia, VIC 26

A number speaks a thousand empty words.

There’s a special paper in this year’s Budget. It’s called the ‘Women’s Budget Statement’. Now there’s a surprise. The Statement commits record funding towards promoting the values of respect, dignity, choice, equality of opportunity and justice for Australian women. But before you head out alone at night without your phone, let’s cast the words aside and look at the numbers. After all, that’s what the Budget’s all about.

The Federal Government Women’s Budget is worth $3.4 billion.

Based on 2015 analysis, violence against women in Australia is costing the country $21.7 billion… every year. But it’s a pandemic, we gotta be reasonable here ladies, right?

That would be easier, if this year alone, the Defence Budget didn’t total $44.6 billion.

There are 12.79 million women in Australia. We are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner, and on average, every week one of us is murdered by an ex or partner.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. But this year’s Budget numbers are crystal clear. The war against women isn’t one our Government wants to invest in.

Maddie, NSW 28

Illustration by AileenYou can find more of her work on Instagram @aileenetc

Words by Members of the WhyNot Editorial Committee and friends

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