Women’s workforce participation is an economic and social imperative, and is essential to building the workforce required to support economic growth and Australia’s future prosperity.
Under Australia’s G20 presidency, leaders agreed to work towards reducing the gender gap in workforce participation by 25 per cent by 2025. On 6 July 2017, the Government released Towards 2025: An Australian Government Strategy to Boost Women’s Workforce Participation. The Strategy outlines the Government’s roadmap to meet the G20 target.
The Government has identified five action areas to improve women’s workforce participation: child care; workplace diversity and flexibility; jobs of the future; economic security; and financial incentives.
The 2017-18 Budget also demonstrated that the Government is taking action to boost women’s workforce participation, including by:
- Contributing almost $430 million to support universal access to pre‑school for all children in the year before school in 2018.
- Investing an additional $2.5 billion in funding for child care under the Jobs for Families child care package, which will benefit around one million families.
- Providing $33 million to boost the local care support workforce.
- Investing in increasing support for training and reskilling older Australians.
The 2017-18 Budget allocated $263 million to expand the innovative ParentsNext pre-employment program across Australia from July 2018. ParentsNext is currently operating in 10 local government areas across Australia. It assists parents of young children, in particular those at risk of long-term unemployment, to plan and prepare for employment before their children are at school. The majority of participants are women.