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Lavarch report endorses measures for women in Fightback!



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3HADOW MINISTER ASSISTING THE LEADER ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN

P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A · THE SENATE

SENATOR JOCELYN NEWMAN LIBERAL SENATOR FOR TASMANIA

Lavarch Report Endorses Measures For Women In Fightback!

"A number of the recommendations from the report of the Parliam entary Inquiry into Equal Opportunity and Equal Status for Women in Australia are a ringing endorsement of measures for women in the Coalition's Fightback! package", Senator Jocelyn Newman, Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on the Status of Women,

said today.

Areas already addressed by Fightback! include:

Superannuation . _

It is recommended th at there be greater flexibility in s;uperannhation provisions and recognition of womens broken work patterns.

The Fightback! package specifically addresses this by proposing the introduction of Retirement Savings Accounts. These accounts will be available to women out of the paid workforce and in casual and part-time work, and there will be taxation incentives available either to them or to their spouses while they are without

In addition, women returning to the workforce in middle age will be able to make 'catch-up' payments to their superannuation savings. “

Home Ownership

The report recommends that superannuation savings be accessible for the purpose of home ownership. This is one of the clear commitments in Fightback!.

Child Care

There are a number of recommendations relating to the expansion of child care opportunities and fee relief.

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Fightback! provides for a review of child care, and an additional expenditure of $90 million for child care support.

Education and Training

The report recognised the importance of resources for TAPE and access for women.

Fightback! provides a massive increase in funding for TAPE to meet this need.

Professional development for teachers is highlighted in the report, and this is a specific policy plank in the Fightback! education proposals.

The report recognised the need for more resources for English language training and for literacy programs. Both of these areas have high priority in Fightback!.

Rural Women

The report recognises the disadvantage caused by the cost dPtravel for women in rural areas and the need for effective community services in those areas.

Fightback! provides for the abolition of fuel excise, which will dramatically reduce fuel costs, and for the provision of enhanced services for country women, such as mammography and densitometry, and the training of remote area nurses.

Departmental Polity

The Report makes recommendations as to the responsibility of Departments in term s of policy initiatives and programs for women.

Fightback! provides for all Departments to take responsibility for the development of policy and programs for women in their own areas, as well as an overall responsibility maintained by the Office of the Status of Women.

Differences in Emphasis

Although the Opposition members of the Committee tabled a dissenting report on 16 of the 79 recommendations, the basis of this report tended to be a difference in emphasis rather than total disagreement.

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For example, while it is important to both political parties th at the Human Rights Commission be effective in eliminating discrimination, the recommendations in the report would be inclined to make it a very legalistic institution and thus diminish its accessibility for many women.

Another example of a difference in emphasis is the need for family friendly workplaces. The Coalition does not believe that additional costs imposed on business from a centralised wage Fixing system will be good for women.

We believe it will lessen their employment opportunities by reducing the profitability of their employer. Therefore, although its extremely important for women to achieve flexibility and other benefits which recognise their family responsibilities, this is more appropriately achieved by negotiation in the workplace and will be dependent on the ability of the business to pay. ' * '

Bankrupt businesses provide no jobs.

While we totally support the need for fair treatm ent of all employees, those who seek employment from religious institutions must be deemed to have accepted that the religious and moral principles on which these institutions are founded will be the guiding principles for their employees. Thus we cannot support measures which would change the current status of bodies such as Church schools.

While the Coalition strongly supports the purposes of the Affirmative Action Agency to achieve equal opportunity in the workplace we believe that it is premature to endorse recommendations for that agency while a major and separate review of the agency is not yet concluded.

30th April 1992

Further information: Senator Newman [06] 277 3660