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Shivani Gopal

Shivani Gopal

August 14, 2022
| Womens Advocacy

Founder's Weekly 24th June 2022: Is NSW the best place in Australia for women to live + kids’ show tackles infertility

Women win big in the NSW Budget + Bluey talks to kids about infertility

Dear remarkable community,

Women’s voices are not heard in business or government as often as I am sure we would all like.

So, it was with great pleasure that I saw women’s input truly reflected in the NSW State Budget that was brought down this week. 

Investment in women is not only a way to create a stronger economy, but a way to create a fairer society where all genders can thrive. 

It’s important to celebrate the wins as we work towards gender equality.

Around the world, Columbia will also see its first, Black vice-president, something that will help break down biases.

And, by the way, if you’re wrestling not so much with gender issues this week, but with end of the financial year (EOFY) accounts, our Tax Hacks webinar had some great suggestions.

We’re putting a cheat sheet together for members, so keep an eye out on your inboxes.

Is NSW the best place in Australia for women to live? 

In one state, at least, the government has heard the cries of women for greater equality. 

The 2022-23 NSW Budget includes  $16.5 billion over 10 years to support women to enter, re-enter and stay in the workforce, recognising the economic and societal benefits of investing in women. This calls for a moment of celebration! 

“The NSW Government is committed to ensuring NSW is the best place in the country for women to live, work and raise a family,” says Premier Dominic Perrottet. 

The funding initiatives are wide-ranging, but here are a few that really stood out for me. They are measures that will help boost not only women’s participation in the workforce but reduce the gender pay gap, increase women’s safety at work and at home, and help shore up their health. 

I couldn’t be more excited about all of them and I am applauding the State Government for its commitment to real reform. 

I’d also like to give a shout-out to the Expert Reference Panel of women, led by the president of Chief Executive Women Sam Mostyn, who helped get these bold funding reforms into the Budget. 

Mostyn told The Sydney Morning Herald: “We asked the Treasurer to invest in the future of women in NSW in three ways: through stewardship of big policy reform and investment in early education and care; through leadership of gender equality and respect for women as the country’s largest employer, and by leveraging the vast procurement budget of NSW to influence organisations wanting to sell goods and services to the state.

“So many of our recommendations materialised in the Budget on Tuesday.”

  • - $1.7 billion towards introducing universal pre-kindergarten
  • - $1.3 billion fee relief for preschool
  • - $775 million towards boosting accessibility and affordability of childcare
  • - Enhanced paid parental leave for public sector employees, including two weeks bonus leave where parents share leave more equally
  • - $20.2 million to triple the number of women in construction by 2030, from 5% to 15%
  • - $15 million to provide tailored support to help women build and grow their businesses
  • - $12 million towards the Carla Zampatti Venture Capital Fund ($10 million for the Fund and $2 million for establishment and operation) for female-led start-ups
  • - $3.7 million to monitor the proportion of women-led businesses in government procurement and promote equitable practices in businesses
  • - $80 million to support affordable fertility treatments
  • - $40.3 million for menopause hubs
  • - $25 million to upgrade lighting and build female change rooms at sporting grounds
  • - $5.2 million to support post-natal mental health
  • - $43.6 million for wraparound support for victim-survivors of domestic violence
  • - $30 million for lighting, CCTV and foot traffic upgrades and an anti-street harassment campaign
  • - $9.7 million for a SafeWork taskforce to reduce sexual harassment in the workplace 

This boost in funding is an enormous step in the right direction and on the path to equality. 

Help to buy a house for lower-income earners

Single parents with children under 18, Australians over 50 and first home buyers who are nurses, teachers, or police, are being offered help by the State Government to buy a home.

The  NSW Share Equity Scheme will allow buyers to get into the property market with a deposit of two per cent of the property price, which means they’ll skip mortgage insurance.

Under the trial scheme, the NSW Government will contribute up to 40 per cent for a new property or 30 per cent of an existing property in exchange for an equivalent ownership share of the property.

To qualify for the trial scheme, you must have a gross income of $90,00 or less as a single, or $120,000 or less as a couple. Other conditions include an annual review to see if you still qualify for the scheme, a commitment by you to do repairs and maintenance and to have any renovations that could affect the value of the property approved by the government, and an agreement to pay costs like council rates, strata fees and so on. 

The maximum value of property you can buy will be $950,000 in Sydney and regional centres such as the Central Coast, Illawarra, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle and the North Coast of NSW, while other parts of NSW face a cap of $600,000.

While you won’t have to pay interest or make repayments, on the government’s contribution, you will be able to make voluntary payments to progress to full ownership of their property.

Up to 3000 applications will be open each year for two financial years.

While the scheme sounds good, before you buy a property, especially with anyone else, it is important to get advice from a mortgage broker and/or a financial adviser, as well as your accountant.

Buying a home is the biggest purchase most people will make in a lifetime and, with rising interest rates, getting into the market now may pose challenges in the months ahead.

That said, time in the market is more valuable than what time you enter it as, over the long-term, bricks and mortar in Australia have proven a healthy investment. Having your own home means you also have a chance to create a space you want structurally and aesthetically, as well as have the security of knowing a landlord cannot end your tenancy unexpectedly.

Colombia’s first Black vice-president

A lawyer and longtime activist, Francia Marquez, will become Columbia’s first Black vice-president.

She’s an impressive candidate, having previously won the Goldman Prize, a prestigious recognition in environmentalism.

About one in 10 Colombians identify as Black, though that number could be higher because some people fear discrimination stemming from colonial times.

The more representation we have with women of colour taking up influential spaces, the more stereotypes and biases will continue to break down.

This also echoes back home in Australia where Western Australia’s newest senator Fatima Paytman, 27, makes history as the first hijab-wearing Muslim woman in Parliament. 

A big win for representation and diversity!

Bluey episode talks about infertility

A popular children’s show, that is also watched by parents, has tackled the subject of infertility.

The Bluey episode includes Chilli’s sister Brandy who can’t have children of her own. When the kids notice Brandy seems sad, Chilli explains that her sister is unable to have children of her own.

The episode attracted 3.6K likes on the Bluey Facebook page, indicating it really resonated with viewers.

Talking about subjects like these on children’s television is one way of helping teach kids emotional intelligence and that will help champion equality and inclusivity. It is material such as this that will make an impact on the society’s attitudes in years to come.

While not all women want children, it’s a positive to see the sadness of those who do, and can’t have them, acknowledged.

Until next week,
Shivani

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