media release 


29 March 2022   


Federal Budget measures aim to improve women’s workforce participation but doesn’t address super system gender inequities


HESTA welcomed measures aimed at increasing women’s workforce participation but said the Federal Budget was a missed opportunity to improve women’s long-term financial security.


“Our super system has a persisting gender blind spot that sees women retire with almost a third less super than their male counterparts,” HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said.


“Eighty percent of HESTA members are women, and those who raise children continue to pay an unfair financial penalty through inadequate super balances, leaving too many vulnerable to poverty as they age.”


Ms Blakey said there are important reforms Australia’s next Government should deliver in its first term. These included paying super on Commonwealth paid parental leave and introducing a superannuation carer credit for new parents to help get their super balances back on track following unpaid parental leave.


HESTA acknowledged measures to improve women’s workforce participation will improve retirement outcomes. These included changes to paid parental leave allowing eligible working parents to share up to 20 weeks of flexible entitlements between them. This would allow families more choices around sharing child caring responsibilities that will assist women to stay connected to work.


However fundamental super reforms to improve gender equity are still needed. Recent HESTA research revealed nine in 10 of the more than 2300 members surveyed strongly agreed that changes were needed in Australia’s super system to boost women’s financial security in retirement.


Almost eight in 10 members supported a super carer credit where the Government makes a super contribution to fill part of the super gap that arises during unpaid parental leave.


“Women predominately take on the primary caring role, making an enormous contribution to our economy and society through raising children,” Ms Blakey said.


“Our super system needs to recognise this by helping new parents get their retirement savings back on track, ensuring they’re not penalised with financial insecurity later in life.”


HESTA members predominately work in the health and community services sectors. While acknowledging significant additional funding for Aged Care, Ms Blakey said the budget did not deliver measures that would improve financial security for those delivering these critical services.


Almost a quarter of HESTA members work in Aged Care. HESTA member research found poor pay and a lack of career opportunities were some of the top reasons why these members wanted to leave the sector.


The research showed almost a third of the 1500 members surveyed working in aged care said their household income was less than $40,000 p.a. Nearly 40% were estimated to earn less than $50,000 p.a.

While there were a range of training measures and a $800 bonus for aged care workers announced in the budget it is not enough to improve the long-term financial security of those in the sector.


“Improving the quality and sustainability of aged care jobs will improve the financial future of our members working in the sector. And it’s vital to helping attract and retain the skilled and talented people we will need to provide high-quality care for older Australians,” Ms Blakey said.


“A strong aged care system is a vital piece of Australia’s social infrastructure that benefits all working Australians who will, at some point either directly or through their loved ones, have to rely on these services.”





Media contact:

Sam Riley

General Manager Media Relations

(03) 8660 1684


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