The Federal Budget 2019/20 will see single mothers, women over 50 and women already financially marginalised worse off than ever.
That’s according to Global Sisters CEO, Mandy Richards. She has warned the Budget measures are likely to have a negative impact on those already doing it tough.
“The Treasurer has announced a budget built on tax cuts, however these tax cuts offer the most benefits to people who already have the most, with people on the lowest incomes receiving nothing. It’s as if those members of our community who are really struggling have been completely forgotten,” Richards said.
It has already been made clear that the budget has no strategy or clear vision for the advancement of Australian women.
Here’s what the tax cuts will look like:
- People earning $200,000 will get over $224 a week
- People earning $50,000 will get $23 a week
- People earning $25,000 (on pensions) get a one-off payment of $75 (equivalent to $1.40 per week)
- People earning $15,000 (on Newstart) receive nothing
Richards says Australia’s welfare system has lost its humanity.
“A welfare system is supposed to be a safety net that helps us when we need it most. Ours has become one that is quicksand – it is punitive, cruel and most disturbingly is entrenching poverty in this generation of welfare recipients and their children.”
“Every human being deserves to live in dignity and in a country with Australia’s wealth the levels of poverty particularly among single mothers, children and older women are a disgrace. They are also a wasted opportunity and resource for a stronger Australia.”
Older women are the fastest growing group of homeless people in Australia. Since 2011, the number of homeless women in Australia over the age of 50 has increased by 31% (ABS, 2018). By the time they are 60, 34% of single women in Australia live in poverty. Almost 1/3 of single mothers have experienced homelessness at some point.
In light of the budget and in the build up to federal election in May, here are some alarming facts to consider:
- 32% of single parents in Australia now live in poverty (up by 6% since 2011)
- Half of all unemployed single mothers have health conditions or care for children with disability or illness
- 83% of all lone parent households in Australia are headed by women (ABS, 2016)
- Women are over-represented at lower income levels (ABS, 2018)
- 95% of Parenting Payment (Single) recipients are women
Richards is urging the government to urgently commit to single mothers and women living in poverty.
“All we ask is that our Government listens … truly listens to the needs of these women who are ready for financial freedom. Their roles as mothers need to be valued and the multiple barriers they face daily need to be recognised and supported practically.”