Women and single parents could be in line for more support in the federal budget as the government looks to ease cost of living pressure on groups in need.
Finance Minister Katy Gallagher said compounding budget pressures and the risk of fuelling inflation was restricting the cost of living relief the government could provide but some targeted support was likely.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that we are … addressing specific pressures on particular groups,” she told ABC Radio National on Wednesday.
She said ministers had identified a range of pressures across their portfolios, including addressing women’s economic disadvantage and the strain on single parents.
“There’s essentially representations being made about women, and addressing women, single parents, some of those other programs that we’ve talked about before with that have come through the women’s economic equality task force,” she said.
“There are certainly representations to government in all of those areas, and we’re working through those as you would expect.”
The task force came together in September 2022 to give the government advice on avenues for advancing women’s economic equality, such as on the optimal the settings of Commonwealth-supported paid parental leave.
The May 9 budget comes amid a backdrop of high inflation, global economic challenges and growing spending priorities in areas such as defence and health.
The finance minister said she was sympathetic to the many requests for funding but the government’s job was to balance competing priorities.
“We can’t do everything that is coming at us right now,” she said.
She said the budget was in “pretty average shape” and hard decisions would need to be made on supports for in-need groups, including the timing of those measures.
“Essentially, we can’t do everything all at once, and we can’t undo 10 years of damage in one economic update.”
(Australian Associated Press)