It is imperative that Australia’s Federal Budget is responsive to the gendered nature of the COVID-19 crisis and is designed to optimize the role gender equality can play in Australia’s economy recovery.
Our submission is framed in acknowledgement that at present, and in light of developments in Victoria, crisis measures remain important and that for the next several years, economic stimulus should be a priority for Australia’s recovery.[ii] Richard Denniss, chief economist of The Australia Institute has stated, “In this climate, debt is not a sign of recklessness, it’s a sign that governments understand the depth of the hole our economy is now in.”[iii] Our recommendations are therefore split into three categories:
- Extension of emergency measures;
- Temporary stimulus measures;
- Permanent investments;
We consider these recommendations to be critical to enabling a gender equitable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
In the longer-term, implementation of Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB)[iv] tools would allow for these measures to be tracked and monitored across the policy development cycle. GRB tools can be adapted to understand the budget implications for different population groups, including people of different genders, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, culturally and linguistically diverse people, people with disability, LGBTIQ+ people, people of different ages, and others, where these factors are a more relevant starting point for analyzing budgetary impacts, and can be cross-cut with one another for inclusive analysis.
[i] Goldman Sachs JBWere (2009). Australia’s Hidden Resource: The Economic Case for Increasing Female Participation, Melbourne: Goldman Sachs JBWere, available: https://www.asx.com.au/documents/about/gsjbw_economic_case_for_increasing_female_participation.pdf 7 May 2020.
[ii] Daley, J., Wood, D., Coates, B., Duckett, S., Sonnemann, J., Terrill, M., Wood, T. and Griffiths, K. (2020). The Recovery Book: What Australian governments should do now. Grattan Institute, p. 15.
[iii] Denniss, R., quoted at The Australia Institute, (2020). ‘The Reconstruction Memorandum: Building a Better Australia’, available from: https://www.tai.org.au/content/reconstruction-memorandum-building-better-australia, 14 August 2020.
[iv] Williams, G., and Gissane, H. (2020). Analysing the Gap Policy Paper: Opportunities to improve gender equality in Australia’s public policy processes, Canberra: Equality Rights Alliance, available from: https://www.equalityrightsalliance.org.au/publications/analysing-the-gap/, 14 August 2020.