Topics: 2020 Budget
David Koch: The Federal Government is facing criticism that women are being left out of its big spending Budget. The Opposition, the ACTU and advocacy groups say the recession busting plan does not do enough for women who’ve been hit especially hard by the COVID crisis. We’re joined now by Industry Minister Karen Andrews. Good morning to you.
Karen Andrews: Good morning.
David Koch: Minister, what do you say to that criticism? Is $240 million package enough given how many women have been affected by the pandemic?
Karen Andrews: Well, good morning. And what’s important is that the Budget delivers a lot from men and women. So, we have a pretty strong jobs platform that’s going to support men and women. Women are business owners, women do go to university, women are already in jobs. We want to get more people back into jobs, both men and women. And of course there’s targeted support in the Budget specifically for women, particularly in areas where we know that there is a disparity, where there are less women than there are men, and that’s particularly in the STEM related careers – so there is support in there. But, as a government, we are doing all that we can to create job opportunities, and that will support women and men.
David Koch: Okay. I put it to the Prime Minister yesterday – did you consider free child care as a way of getting more women back into the workforce quicker? A lot of economists have called for higher subsidies for child care. The opposition looks as though it is now committing to free child care for low income earners. Was that the biggest miss?
Karen Andrews: The first step has to be creating the jobs, because without the jobs there are no jobs for women or men to go into. So that is Step One in what our plan is to rebuild our economy. But, what we need to realise is that there’s already over $9 billion that is committed to child care. We have provided during the COVID crisis $900 million. The reforms that we’ve put in place mean that more families will have money in their pocket because their out-of-pocket expenses have come down by over 3 per cent. So there is a lot of support for child care, but the most important thing is that we create jobs.
David Koch: Minister, appreciate your time. Thank you.
Karen Andrews: It’s a pleasure.