The Turnbull government needed to reinstate the women’s budget to allow proper analysis of the impact of the budget on women, according to Women in Super executive officer, Sandra Buckley.
WIS is concerned by the lack of measures aimed at combating inequality and will be looking carefully at the gender implications of the 2017 budget for women’s retirement outcomes, Ms Buckley said.
Ms Buckley said the effect public policies have on women differs markedly to men and the budget fails to take measures to close the gender super gap and the gender pay gap. These gaps are the results of the structural barriers faced by women and will not close unless concerted efforts are made by the government to do so.
“It is disappointing that the Government has not taken the opportunity to implement any of the recommendations from the Senate Inquiry into women’s economic security in retirement,” she said.
The necessary measures include improving tax concessions for lower paid workers (predominantly women), the removal of the $450 monthly threshold for compulsory super to be paid and introducing superannuation for those with caring responsibilities or the self-employed.
“A gender responsive budget would enable greater understanding of the impact of policies and is essential if we are serious about closing the gender pay and super gaps so current and future generations of Australian women do not continue to earn less than men and retire with half the superannuation savings of men.” Ms Buckley said.
“We need to ensure that Government spending is targeted towards improving women’s retirement outcomes including extending participation to those who for decades have been locked out of the superannuation system.”
WIS will further examine budget proposals but notes the proposal to allow saving for a first home deposit within superannuation, while helping some Australians to save quicker for a house deposit, will not benefit the millions of Australians who are living from week to week nor the fastest growing group of homeless – women over 65 years, Ms Buckley said.
WIS Chair and National Spokesperson, Cate Wood said that the focus for superannuation should be on improving equity, increasing the superannuation guarantee to 12% and developing the best possible retirement products.