Australia considers increasing childcare subsidies for female workers

To increase women’s participation in the workforce, the Australian government is considering increasing childcare subsidies in its upcoming budget.
By: | April 27, 2021

Getting more women into work, taking on more hours and completing skills training are key priorities, Senator Jane Hume, the newly appointed Minister for Women’s Economic Security, was quoted as saying in an interview with the Australian Financial Review. 

“You can’t undo every inequality or tear down every barrier or make right every wrong in one budget. But we can make significant inroads and we can also signal we mean business and there is more to do,” Hume said. 

Proposals include removing the AUD$10,560 (US$8,179) annual per-child cap on the subsidy, the newspaper said. 

The Sun-Herald newspaper said the budget will also contain new policies to bolster pension savings and tackle domestic violence, according to Bloomberg. 

The West Australian newspaper reported Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott as saying that, with Australia’s population growing at its lowest rate since World War I, it is crucial to increase female participation in the labour force to optimise homegrown talent. 

“A women’s budget is not just about fixing the cultural problems we’ve seen writ large across society, it’s also an economic imperative,” Westacott said. 

The Productivity Commission found more than 90,000 people across Australia were not in the workforce last year, mainly because of the high cost of childcare, she said. 

READ: Australia’s unions push back against calls for minimum wage delay

“Our childcare and paid parental leave systems are a barrier to women who want to get back into work, and they don’t work for modern families,” Westacott said. 

Australia’s 2021 Federal budget will be released on May 11.