It’s Budget Day! These are the predictions affecting women you need to know about, thanks to Financy founder and editor, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman.
Tonight’s Federal Budget is shaping up to be one that has both good and bad news for Australian women.
The good news is that Treasurer Scott Morrison is likely to announce new funding packages that improve housing affordability and tackle domestic violence against women.
The bad news is that we’re unlikely to see anything new towards improving the cost of childcare for families or that further narrows the gender pay gap, especially when it comes to superannuation.
We could also see further cuts to university spending and welfare support.
Deloitte Access Economics’ partner Lynne Pezzullo, says what’s needed for women in the Budget are measures that support greater workplace participation, fight domestic violence and improve life for indigenous women.
Sadly, we’re unlikely to see that all addressed, but here’s what we’re hearing.
ANZ senior economist Jo Masters expects that new measures will be announced to improve housing affordability for first home buyers.
“Housing affordability is also an issue that is likely to be addressed, although the Government has ruled out broad changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax arrangements for housing investment,” she said.
While the majority of first-home buyers are couples, single women are actually outpacing men when it comes to purchasing property, according to research by Mortgage Choice.
There’s talk of new funding towards domestic violence support services, which many hope will compliment the Victorian Government’s $1.9 billion recent Budget promise in this area.
Sadly one woman dies in Australia every week because of domestic violence, and countless more live with the daily scares of physical and financial abuse.
Julie Kun, the chief executive of women’s support service WIRE in Victoria hopes the federal government’s spending will focus on supporting “secure housing for women and their families and improving financial security for women.”
There’s likely to be funding for a new training package to help people up skill to meet the needs of a modern work place.
While the details are sketchy, training that supports workplaces with digital skills and provides greater workplace flexibility would have its benefits for women, particularly in relation to wages and superannuation.
It looks like infrastructure will be front and centre of the Budget, according to Ms Masters.
Spending on infrastructure is generally seen as a good thing because it’s considered a longer-term investment that creates employment and supports the needs of a growing population.
But where it becomes helpful for women is where spending on infrastructure projects help to reduce commuting times for parents, rather than on projects like inland rail projects such as the one earmarked between Brisbane and Melbourne.
Some Budget watchers believe the government could be about to announce further cuts to welfare.
Women are more likely than men to be on welfare, particularly elderly and single women with children.
“The government is likely to talk about good and bad debt and separate the two out so it makes the underlying deficit look better than it is,” says Urbis chief economist Nicki Hutley.
“But talking about good and bad debt and labelling welfare as bad debt, which Mr Morrison seems to be doing, is not helpful.
“Governments need to help those who can’t help themselves, and not name and shame those who are less able,” says Hutley.
There’s talk that university fees could increase and that the income thresholds for repaying student debt might be lowered in this Budget.
If this happens, women more so than men are likely to be affected given that more females are graduating from universities, and that they also tend to be on lower incomes.
This is an edited version of a piece published at Financy.