The analysis was commissioned by the National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) and sponsored by Women on Boards on the back of the Federal Budget, which was heavily focussed on investment in physical infrastructure where economic and employment benefits flow to men.
Taxation expert, Professor Helen Hodgson, who chairs the NFAW Social Policy Committee, said "the modelling confirms government investment in the care sector would deliver similar economic stimulus, with women the main beneficiaries.”
"The report clearly demonstrates the Federal government can no longer ignore the care sector’s desperate need for adequate funding as new modelling confirms this will improve quality of care, create more jobs for women and grow the economy through increased participation." Prof Hodgson said.
Investing in the care economy is found to work in three ways:,/p>
- Increases labour market participation
- improves employment conditions for carers
- Addresses female economic disadvantage by reducing the wage gap.
Professor Hodgson said, “We were told that the 2020-21 budget is 'all about jobs', but an analysis through a gendered lens shows that most of the jobs and tax cuts are in male dominated areas, including apprenticeships and traineeships, construction, and manufacturing. The female dominated care sector was largely overlooked.
“The fact is that applying a gendered lens to the economy is the only way to properly value the work done by women,” Professor Hodgson concluded. This includes funding the care sector.
Simulations of increased government expenditure in the care sectors - Key Findings.
- More than 900 thousand Australians who have unpaid caring responsibilities for young children, the elderly, or people with disabilities would like to work more hours in paid employment. If this could be facilitated by greater provision of government-funded care services, labour supply would increase by over 2 per cent.
- More than 70 per cent of this additional labour input would be supplied by women, alleviating some of the disadvantage experienced by women in the labour market.
- Supporting carers with additional government-funded service delivery and higher wage growth in the child care, aged care and disabled care sectors underpins additional economic growth such that GDP in 2030 would be 1.64 per cent higher than it otherwise would have been. This is equivalent to an average of $1266 per person per year in 2018-19 prices, or more than $30 billion per year in aggregate.
- Additional employment and higher wages in the care sector also directly supports women’s employment and incomes, as these sectors account for a high proportion of women’s employment.
- This economic growth dividend underpins increased revenue from taxes on income and consumption, offsetting much of the cost to government of increased service delivery (including higher wages) in the care sector. In 2030, we estimate the cost of the additional service delivery to be $19 billion, yet the additional impact on the government deficit is less than $3 billion.
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