Politics with Michelle Grattan: what should the budget do for women? Jennifer Westacott (BCA) and Michele O’Neil (ACTU)

Originally published on theconversation.com

What do business and union leaders believe should be in a budget that is designed in part to pitch to women?

Jennifer Westacott, CEO of the Business Council of Australia, says as well as spending on childcare – which we already know about – the budget should improve women’s access to superannuation.

“Women have been very, very disadvantaged in that superannuation system – they are retiring with very small savings.”

“The superannuation and the childcare go hand in hand because we know that the reason many women don’t have adequate super is because they’ve taken big stints out of work and they haven’t built that savings nest egg. So those two things should be seen in tandem.”

Michele O’Neil, president of the ACTU, says for women the budget “needs to include commitments to addressing insecure work and low wages [and] to make sure that the support for early childhood education and care delivers free and universal childcare. Because this is what will matter in terms of women’s participation at work. We have a relatively low rate of women’s participation.”

“If we just increased women to the same level of participation for those key years of 25-45 as men, we’d see a $70 billion increase in GDP and a $30 billion increase in household incomes.”

Additional audio

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive.

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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