The Queensland Budget 2016-17 included significant allocations to advance gender equality across the 4 priority areas of the Queensland Women’s Strategy 2016-21.
Priority area 1: Participation and leadership
Queensland is leading the way with a Cabinet that is more than half women, and women holding both the Premier and Deputy Premier roles. Despite great gains, women still lag behind men in leadership positions in government, business and the community sector.
The 2016-17 budget builds on the progress we are making through initiatives such as:
- Committing $300,000 to increase women’s representation on government bodies, as well as working with the community and corporate sector to increase women’s leadership within their organisations and businesses.
- Continuing to fund the Women’s Academic Fund, which last year provided grants to 75 women academics.
- Implementing workplace gender equity strategies across the public service, with a particular focus on traditionally male-dominated industries, such as police and emergency services.
- Promoting and supporting women through events such as the 2016 Women and Firefighting Australasia Conference and the Indigenous Women Business Owner workshop.
- Queensland Police Service target for 50% of new police recruits to be women. This will be complemented by $2.2 million over 4 years to deliver policing initiatives that drive cultural change in line with the recommendations of the Not Now, Not Ever report.
Priority area 2: Economic security
Initiatives to build a secure economic future for women, in the 2016-17 budget include:
- Providing $1.2 million over 5 years to establish a scholarship scheme in partnership with the Smith Family to support up to 100 women leaving care to access higher education.
- Supporting women who are exiting corrective services by providing $4.5 million over 5 years (this includes $0.5M in 2015-16) to a specialised women’s re-integration support service. This service assists with providing specific programs tailored to the individual and collective needs of women to enable a successful transition into the community.
- Providing $25 million over 4 years to provide financial counselling, continued emergency relief, further financial literacy and Good Money shops, which will serve as an alternative to payday lenders. Financial counselling is important particularly for women, as it is estimated that 3 out of 5 women between 65 and 69 have no superannuation.
- Committing $2 million over 2 years and a further $1 million of internal reprioritisation to fund an economic participation strategy to increase employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders, with a specific focus on the advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
- Continuing to deliver the Welfare Reform program in the 5 communities of Aurukun, Coen, Doomadgee, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge. This includes supporting the Family Responsibilities Commission to encourage welfare recipients to take responsibility for their lives and their families, and providing youth development activities, upgrades to infrastructure, parenting programs, and support to businesses and employment.
Priority area 3: Safety
A centrepiece of the 2016-17 budget is the comprehensive package to address domestic and family violence. Initiatives under this package include:
- $42.4 million to roll out specialist courts, building on the trial at Southport
- $43.1 million for additional or enhanced domestic and family violence services to support families
- $26.3 million for 8 specialist teams to prioritise victims and their safety
- $10.3 million for additional perpetrator interventions to help protect victims
- $9.6 million for a communication and engagement program to change attitudes and behaviours towards domestic and family violence
- $8.7 million for 2 new shelters to support women and children escaping domestic and family violence
- $4.4 million for 5 new services to support women who have experienced sexual assault, including assault within an intimate partner relationship
- $846,000 over 5 years commencing 2015-16 has been provided for home safety upgrades brokerage to domestic violence counselling services
- $6.8 million over 4 years commencing 2016-17 for the development of training for frontline professionals to support the delivery of quality services and to upskill workers, particularly in rural and remote locations
- $900,000 per annum over 3 years commencing in 2017-18 to Seniors Legal and Support Services and the Elder Abuse Prevention Unit to support service delivery, particularly in regional and remote areas and underserviced metropolitan areas such as the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
Priority area 4: Health and wellbeing
Health and wellbeing initiatives in the 2016-17 budget targeting women include:
- Progressing initiatives from the Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2015–20 such as support programs in partnership with Quitline for pre-natal women to help them quit smoking.
- Implementing the rural Midwifery Model of Care to provide rural and regional women with more choice in ante-natal and post-natal care options.
- Providing $18.9 million to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research to, among other research projects, begin a 5 year study into new and emerging preventions and treatments for aggressive breast cancer.
- $15.8 million over 3 years to fund the North Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sexually Transmissible Infections Action Plan 2016-21 (PDF), to strengthen health systems and reduce STI rates that present particular health risks for women.
- Continuing to provide $4.4 million for 12 women’s health services around the state.
- Continuing to prioritise women and girls initiatives under existing grant programs, including $3.6 million for Get Going Clubs and $12.8 million for Get Playing Places and Spaces.
- Committing $100,000 over 3 years to support Women and Girls Special Initiatives being delivered by state level organisations, including AFL Queensland, Queensland Rugby League and BMX Queensland.