Too few Budget measures aimed at women’s retirement

The Federal Budget announced on Tuesday had disappointingly few measures targeted at improving women’s financial security in retirement, according to HESTA.

The industry superannuation fund said the super system had a “gender blind spot” that led to women retiring with considerably less super than their male counterparts.

HESTA chief executive, Debby Blakey, said: “HESTA has been calling for the scrapping of the unfair $450 super threshold for more than 10 years so it’s pleasing the Government has taken this long overdue step as it will help improve financial security for women and the lower paid.

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“However, the fact that super continues not to be paid on parental leave remains a glaring gap in our super system.

“For too long Australian women have paid the ‘motherhood penalty’ for the time they take out of the workforce to care for children. More needs to be done to improve their retirement outcomes. Paying super on paid parental leave is an easy and obvious fix,”

Blakey said the super system favoured those on higher incomes with unbroken work patterns.

“There are few other budget measures that specifically address the long-standing gender inequities in our super system,” she said.

She noted that her members would welcome the Government confirming it would stick to the legislated increases in the super guarantee that would see it rise to 12% in 2025.

The Budget did include funding for Aged Care, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, childcare and pre-school education, mental health, and to combat family violence which Blakey said was encouraging to see a focus on closing gaps in social infrastructure and early education.

“There is still much more to be done to create higher-quality, more secure and sustainable jobs across health and community services. However, these Budget announcements are positive for the sector and our members who deliver these essential services,” Blakey said.

“We continue to push for a gender lens to be applied to our economic recovery as there is ample global evidence that addressing gender equality and strengthening social and health infrastructure are particularly effective at creating long-term, sustainable economic growth.”

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