It was no surprise that this year’s budget has allocated specific spending on women again as shared in the Women’s Budget Statement. It is clear the government is trying to appear supportive of women, however this year the spending and initiatives are far more focused than the 2021 budget, with the key areas addressed being the gender pay gap, women’s safety, and women’s health.

A hot topic of conversation across most industries in Australia is the gender pay gap, with women earning about 14%, or $250 per week less than men. The government has dedicated $482 million to provide more equal opportunities to women via key measures including changes to paid parental leave. There has been a permanent increase to paid parental leave and eligible recipients will now be able to claim a total of 20 weeks of leave, which can be shared between parents at their discretion. This measure includes single parents who will be eligible for the full 20 weeks for the first time.

Other measures included in the 2022 budget, which were first announced in the 2021 budget, include reviews of the Workplace Gender Equality Act, funding to increase the number of women in trades, and an investment to increase employment opportunities for women in sports.

However, as raised last year, paying superannuation on maternity leave is still not seen as a priority, with announcements a few weeks ago that again disregarded this as an effective measure to provide more equity in women’s remuneration, even though women retire with 24% less super than their male counterparts.

Additional spending has been allocated to an ambitious and much-needed program to end domestic violence with an allocation of $1.3 billion to be spent on ending domestic violence against women and children with the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022 – 2032. This program will focus on prevention, early intervention, response, and recovery to address this national crisis.

Very specific measures were introduced for women’s health, including subsidies for the breast cancer drug Trodelvy which costs up to $80,000 per treatment. Other investments have been noted including spending on the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis and funding for bereavement resources and education for those that have experiences miscarriages + stillbirths.


It is not just women that will benefit from additional spending on health, the government has added some specific items to address cost of living concerns with health care. Cheaper and free medication will be accessible under a plan to reduce the safety net threshold of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme [PBS]. The reduction in threshold should see people reach the safety net at approximately 12 fewer scripts than usual.

Supporting people with disability

The budget pledges new spending of $7.3 million for people living with disabilities and their families as well as a $6.1 million national advertising campaign designed to assist jobseekers with a disability. Amaze Incorporated and Autism Awareness Australia are also set to receive $1.2 million.

Residential aged care

The government will provide $468 million over five years as a result of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. The spending is to fund ongoing reforms and will target Services and Sustainability quality and safety, workforce, governance and home care.

In addition, the government will provide additional funding to the aged care sector to assist with preventing and managing outbreaks of coronavirus and more than $340 million to embed pharmacy services within residential aged care facilities.

20 free Rapid Antigen Tests will be available for concession card holders over a period of 7 months until 31 July 2022.

Mental Health

$547 million over 5 years was hedged for mental health treatment and prevention. The funding to address 5 pillars of mental health includes Prevention and Early Intervention, Suicide Prevention, Treatment, Supporting Vulnerable Australians and Workforce and Governance.

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