The Queensland Budget 2017–18 includes 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
With both a female Premier and Deputy Premier, we continue to lead the way, with women representing:
- 28.1% of Queensland Parliament members and almost half the Cabinet ministers (as at February 2017)
- one-third of serving judges and magistrates, including the Chief Justice of Queensland (as at March 2017)
- 18.9% of Queensland chief executives and managing directors (as at February 2017)
- 35.5% of senior executive officers and above, and 50.2% of senior officers in the Queensland public service, of which two-thirds of total full-time equivalent employees are women (as at December 2016)
- 42% of positions on Queensland Government boards (as at 31 March 2017), meaning we are on track to achieve our target of women holding 50% of the positions on government boards by 2020, with women currently appointed to more than 50% of vacant positions.
Women’s increased participation in the workplace and leadership roles is better for the economy. We are making progress in this area and will continue to work with business and the community sector and within government to improve opportunities for women. The 2017–18 budget builds on our achievements to date by:
- promoting women in science in regional areas through the Advance Queensland: Engaging Science Grants, which includes $9900 for the University of Queensland’s Soapbox Science Townsville 2017
- supporting the Women in Local Government Strategy by providing $20,000 for professional development activities
- celebrating women’s achievements and promoting gender equality by providing $150,000 for the Queensland Women’s Week grants program
- promoting and coordinating Queensland Women’s Week 2018, which incorporates International Women’s Day celebrations, with $70,000 allocated to produce and distribute resources
- furthering the Toward Gender Parity: Women on Boards initiative by allocating $200,000 for workshops and practical support activities
- supporting regional Women’s Business Breakfasts and research into gender on boards by providing $33,500 over 2 years to the Community Services Industry Alliance
- supporting gender equality workshops across regional Queensland by providing $12,465 to the One Woman Project for the Rural Roadtrip 2017.
Priority area 2: Economic security
- earned $1318, on average, in a full-time working week in November 2016, compared to $1578 for men, resulting in a 16.4% gender pay gap
- accounted for 64.9% of public housing tenants and 74.1% of public Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing tenants (as at 30 June 2016).
There continues to be a significant gap between women and men’s earnings, savings and retirement incomes. We remain committed to closing this gap through targeted strategies in employment and education, and initiatives to build a secure economic future for women. Measures in the 2017–18 budget include:
- recognising increases to award rates for the social and community services workforce, which comprises more than 75% women, by providing $137.7M over 4 years
- supporting women from low socioeconomic backgrounds to participate in business incubator workshops by providing $3065 (as part of a $15,325 grant) for Wesley Mission Queensland to deliver Advance Queensland: Queensland Startup activities
- continuing to assist women to start and grow their own businesses through the Advancing Small Business Queensland Strategy 2016–20
- supporting women in business, and assisting businesses with high growth aspirations to employ more people, through three targeted grants programs, mentoring and linking to other Queensland programs
- supporting young women leaving care to access higher education by continuing to fund the Care2Achieve program, which granted scholarships to 50 young women across Queensland in 2017, in partnership with the Smith Family
- educating women on financial literacy by continuing to fund financial counselling, emergency relief and Good Money stores
- easing household power bill pressure through the $770M Electricity Affordability Package
- incentivising employers to hire unemployed and young jobseekers by investing $27.5M to expand the Back to Work program
- extending the First Home Owners Grant, which has seen more than 4900 applications worth $98M approved, until 31 December 2017 through an extra $30M
- assisting vulnerable families and women, including seniors and those escaping domestic violence, and enhancing access to secure housing by investing $1.8B over 10 years through the Housing Strategy to build more than 5500 social and affordable homes and strengthen consumer protections for retired people
- helping household budgets through $5.3B in concessions
- growing regional and Indigenous arts, arts infrastructure, cultural tourism, and new jobs by injecting $43.1M into Queensland’s arts sector over the next 4 years.
Priority area 3: Safety
Safety is an ongoing issue for Queensland women and girls:
- Less than one-third reported feeling safe or very safe walking alone in a local area after dark, compared with more than two-thirds of men.
- 82.4% of victims of sexual offences in 2015–16 were female.
- 81.9% of victims of intimate partner homicides between 2006 and 2016 were female, making women almost 4 times more likely to be killed by their partner.
- 73% of clients seeking government-funded homelessness services due to domestic and family violence in 2015–16 were female.
We continue to invest in preventing violence against women and supporting those who experience it. We have completed 55 of the 140 recommendations from the Not Now, Not Ever report, and continue to work on implementing the remainder.
- continuing to operate the specialist domestic and family violence court at Southport and rolling out similar courts in Beenleigh and Townsville, including circuit courts to Mount Isa and Palm Island, through an investment of $69.5M
- establishing 2 new women’s shelters in areas of high demand in South East Queensland, with $6.9M over 4 years; this builds on a previous $4.4M commitment to establish women’s shelters in Charters Towers and Roma
- enhancing integrated responses to domestic and family violence by establishing new High Risk Teams (HRT) in Cairns/Mossman, Brisbane and Ipswich in 2017–18, and continuing to operate established HRTs in Logan–Beenleigh, Cherbourg and Mount Isa/Gulf by continuing to invest $24.2M over four years from 2016–17
- establishing new domestic and family violence services and enhancing existing services to address service gaps, including: counselling and support services; court-based support; sexual assault services; post-crisis step-down recovery support; telephone services; and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific services, with a continued investment of $43.1M over 4 years from 2016–17
- expanding perpetrator interventions by continuing to invest $10.3M over 4 years from 2016–17
- supporting integrated service responses by investing $4.4M in 2017–18 to expand and implement ICT solutions
- supporting quality services and upskilling workers, particularly in rural and remote areas, by continuing to invest $6.8M over 4 years from 2016–17 to develop training for frontline professionals
- supporting women who have experienced sexual assault by continuing to invest $4.4M over 5 years from 2015–16 for 5 services in Mackay, Moreton Bay, Inala, Ipswich and Redlands.
Priority area 4: Health and wellbeing
In 2014–15, 1 in 5 Queensland women reported having mental and behavioural health problems in the previous 12 months, which lasted or were expected to last at least six months, compared to 16% of men.
We continue to support and invest in health and wellbeing initiatives that benefit women. Initiatives in the 2017–18 budget include:
- investing record funding for health of $16.6B, with an additional $208M to upgrade health facilities and supporting infrastructure in rural and regional Queensland, and $200M to increase hospital capacity and services in South East Queensland
- providing specialist care for women who require admission to hospital for significant mental health difficulties in the first year following childbirth by providing $4.6M to the Gold Coast University Hospital Mental Health Maternal and Baby Unit
- expanding paediatric and neonatal retrieval services at Children’s Health Queensland, Metro North and Townsville Hospital and Health Services, with an investment of $6M
- improving access to and increasing participation in the BreastScreen Queensland program by continuing the recently implemented online booking system, which saw more than 20,000 women book their breast screen in the first 6 months of operation, with 18% of these new participants
- encouraging women and girls to participate in sport and active recreation by continuing to deliver on recommendations from the Start Playing, Stay Playing report
- launching a flagship grants program for female-friendly changing facilities at sports and recreation clubs with funding of $15M over 2 years from 2017–18
- building infrastructure and operating additional beds at Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre, through funding of $27.4M over 4 years, including $8.5M in 2017–18
- increasing facilities for support services, including health and offender intervention at Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre, through capital funding of $5.5M over 2 years.