A year of delivery: Advancing the lives of Australian women

Release Date: 
8 March 2019
Media release

This International Women’s Day marks another year of the Coalition Government continuing to deliver practical measures to give women greater choices about their lives, build financial security for them and their families, and grow the Australian economy.

Minister for Women, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said since last year’s International Women’s Day, Australian women have continued to see improvements in key economic measures.

“In the last 12 months we have seen the gender pay gap fall to a record low of 14.2 per cent, women’s workforce participation rise to the record high of 60.7 per cent, and women’s employment reach a record high of almost 6 million, with more women in full-time work than ever before,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“But despite this progress, we know there is more to do. That is why over the last twelve months the Coalition has announced landmark reforms to improve the lives of women.”

“Whether it is keeping women and children safe from domestic and family violence, or giving women greater choices about their lives so they can build greater financial security for themselves and their families, the Coalition Government is focussed on improving the lives of Australian women.”

“We know when Australia’s women do well, their families do well, and our economy and nation prospers.”

This week, the Coalition Government announced the single largest ever Commonwealth investment of $328 million for prevention and frontline services to support the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

The measures outlined in the package to support the Commonwealth’s contribution to the Fourth Action Plan include funding of:

  • $82 million for frontline services;
  • $68 million for prevention strategies;
  • $35 million in support and prevention measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities funded under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy;
  • $78 million to provide safe places for people impacted by domestic and family violence; and
  • $64 million for 1800RESPECT to support the service.

In November 2018 Minister O’Dwyer also delivered the first ever Women’s Economic Security Statement, with more than $100 million dedicated to practical measures to help give women greater life choices, build financial security and grow the Australian economy. Significantly, parents will be able to access Government-funded Parental Leave Pay more flexibly so that their parental leave works for their circumstances.

The last twelve months has also seen the percentage of women on Australian Government boards increase to 45.8 per cent – the highest overall result since public reporting began. It has also seen more women being honoured than ever before with a record number of women receiving an Order of Australia honour in 2019.

In the last 12 months the Coalition Government has also committed:

  • A guaranteed minimum entitlement of five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave for all Australians covered by the Fair Work Act;
  • $500,000 to the Inquiry into Workplace Sexual Harassment, led by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner Ms Kate Jenkins, which will build on the outcomes of the expanded 2018 AHRC sexual harassment survey;
  • A civil penalty regime to combat the non-consensual sharing of intimate images. Amendments to legislation also created two aggravated offences which will apply to the most serious instances of sharing of intimate images;
  • More support for families through the Child Care Subsidy;
  • A targeted investment of $20.9 million over five years to improve the health of new families, particularly pregnant women and children;
  • An extra $27 million to build on the $20.5 million already invested by the Government in the McGrath Breast Care Nurse Initiative, to ensure training of 98 breast care nurses by 2022–23;
  • A $4.5 million package included in the 2018-19 Budget encourages more girls and women to study and undertake STEM careers; and
  • Measures such as the Government’s Protecting Your Super package which will help to protect the low and inactive superannuation accounts of over one million women.

These achievements build on the Coalition’s strong record of delivering for Australian women since coming to Government in 2013, including through a once in generation $2.5 billion investment in childcare, the award-winning Stop it at the Start family violence campaign, increased Federal funding for public hospital services, delivering tax relief for small and medium business, and establishing the eSafety Commissioner, to name just a few.

Minister O’Dwyer will also travel to New York today to speak at the United Nations and lead the Australian delegation to the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which will take place at United Nations Headquarters.

“I look forward to sharing with my international colleagues Australia’s world-leading approach to women’s economic security, eSafety, and addressing issues of sexual harassment in the workforce,” she said.

“Everyone has an important role to play in advancing gender equality – women, men, government, community organisations and businesses are all vital partners in gender equality.”

“We need to keep working together to ensure girls and women have an equal stake in our society and economy, so there are no limits on what girls and women can aspire to and no limits on what they can achieve,” Minister O’Dwyer concluded.