The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP - Minister for Women
Nola Marino MP - Federal Member for Forrest
Rural and regional women are benefiting from practical measures to give them greater choices about their lives, and to build financial security for themselves and their families, as a result of the Coalition Government’s $109 million Women’s Economic Security Statement.
Women’s economic independence and security has improved immensely over the past few decades – there are more women in work than ever before, women’s workforce participation reached a record high in 2018, and the Gender Pay Gap is down to a record low of 14.5 per cent.
Speaking in Bunbury, Western Australia, Minister for Women, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said even though we have come a long way, we still want Australian women to be able to do even better. Women are still likely to earn less than men; they are likely to work part-time at over twice the rate of men; and at retirement age there is a 42 per cent gap in their superannuation balances.
“These gaps can be particularly evident in rural and regional communities, where there may be reduced work opportunities and more limited access to support services,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
“The Coalition Government’s Women’s Economic Security Statement is focussed on assisting women all across Australia, including in rural and regional Australia. It will give women and their families greater choice, and will also help grow the Australian economy.”
Federal Member for Forrest, Nola Marino MP, said the initiatives were good news for women in rural and regional Australia.
“These initiatives will be welcomed by women across my electorate, with the Future Female Entrepreneurs and Boosting Female Founders programs particularly supporting rural and regional women and girls to become self-employed or entrepreneurs,” Mrs Marino said.
“Improved flexibility in Parental Leave Pay will allow women to split their leave into blocks. We are also extending Parental Leave Pay so that women who may previously have been excluded can now be eligible—this includes women who have irregular work, such as teachers on casual contracts.”
Rural and regional women will also have additional support to continue their careers after caring-related breaks through the Career Revive Initiative for Regional Women. It will assist regional employers to develop action plans for their businesses to attract and retain women.
Women in rural and regional Australia will also have access to many of the other services and support detailed in the Women’s Economic Statement, including financial and legal support and services for women rebuilding their lives after domestic and family violence.
“When regional and rural women do well, their families do well, and their local economies and communities prosper,” Minister O’Dwyer concluded.
More information is available on the Women’s Economic Security Statement website.