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Labor's women's policy: remove flexibility and destroy jobs.



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THE HON KEVIN ANDREWS MP

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS MINISTER ASSISTING THE PRIME MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE

Media Release

16204

Labor’s Women’s Policy: Remove Flexibility And Destroy Jobs

FEDERAL Labor’s women’s policy will remove the flexibility women need to balance work and family commitments and destroy jobs.

Since the Howard Government was elected in 1996, the number of women in the workforce has increased by 16.6 per cent (or almost 650,000) so that today, more than 4.5 million Australian women are in the workforce (4,548,200).

Unemployment for women has fallen from 7.6 per cent to 5.6 per cent over the same period, the participation rate has increased from 53.7 per cent to 55.5 per cent and the gap between women and men’s salaries has also narrowed.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, female average weekly earnings have increased from 86 per cent of male earnings in 1996 to almost 90 per cent (89.9 per cent) in 2004.

If Labor was genuine about helping women, it would ditch its radical plans to re-regulate the Australian workplace which will destroy jobs and investment.

Labor should ditch its plan to abolish Australian Workplace Agreements, which provide flexibility and allow women to negotiate employment conditions that suit their work and family needs.

Women on AWAs earn 32 per cent more than women on collective agreements.

Labor should also abandon its plan to force employers to make casual workers permanent and offer women part-time work after having children, as these policies will slug employers with extra costs and destroy jobs.

The Howard Government has already introduced a maternity payment comprising a $3000 lump sum payment to all new mothers - increasing to $5000 in 2008.

The Australian Government will continue to encourage family flexible workplaces and further reduce the pay disparity between men and women.

Labor’s plan to turn back the clock will destroy jobs - particularly for women - and investment.

For further information contact:

Felicity Dargan Press Secretary 0409 550 446

19/07/2004