Transcript - Today Show

Release Date: 
20 November 2018

Subjects: Women’s Economic Security Statement, parental leave pay flexibility

GEORGIE GARDNER: Big changes are set to be announced by the Morrison Government today which will give new mums and dads more control over when they take their paid parental leave. The Minister for Women, Kelly O'Dwyer, joins me now. Minister, good morning to you.

KELLY O'DWYER: Good morning Georgie. 

GEORGIE GARDNER: Just explain if you could what these changes will mean for new parents. 

KELLY O'DWYER: It will mean more flexibility. The current system is far too rigid and thousands of parents miss out on their parental leave payment. But what this will do is allow parents to be able to take blocks of leave and receive their parental leave payment. It will allow them to do that in a time that suits them and their family arrangements, recognising that there are many women out there who are self-employed, who are small business owners, and there a lots of dads who want to be there during the very early years. 

GEORGIE GARDNER: So the rationale behind it, I'm thinking, is that it will help families financially? 

KELLY O'DWYER: It will help families financially, it will give them more choices and it will mean that they can make decisions that are right for them.

GEORGIE GARDNER: All right, if it goes ahead when would it be introduced? 

KELLY O'DWYER: From the 1st of July in 2020. We need to make changes to the system so that it can all work smoothly, so it will apply from then.

GEORGIE GARDNER: Are you expecting any opposition to it? 

KELLY O'DWYER: I would be very surprised if anybody would stand in the way of this flexibility.

GEORGIE GARDNER: Now you're also pledging close to $15 million to victims of domestic violence today. This of course is very welcome news when you consider how many women in Australia are in precarious domestic situations. Just explain where that funding will go.

KELLY O'DWYER: That funding will go to Good Shepherd Microfinance and it will allow for no-interest loans. It means that there is no interest on those loans that women who are fleeing a violent relationship will be able to take out. It will help 45,000 of them to be able to flee those relationships and be able to set up and establish a new home. Currently it's very difficult for women to get access to enough money to be able to have a bond. This will allow for that and it will be life-changing.

GEORGIE GARDNER: We hear a lot about physical and emotional abuse, but how prevalent is financial abuse?

KELLY O'DWYER: Financial abuse is very common. It can stop women from leaving violent and abusive relationships. We want to help women be able to build their financial security. We want women to be economically empowered and for those who have experienced domestic violence, or who are at risk of domestic violence, we want them to be safe. Because when they're safe they can re-build their lives and financial security is very much at the heart of that. 

GEORGIE GARDNER: Funding in this area make a lot of sense. Minister we appreciate your time this morning. 

KELLY O'DWYER: Great pleasure.