Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3660 ..
heard, for example, from Brittany Higgins, who showed enormous bravery in talking about the appalling events that took place to her and against her wishes and, I guess, the mishandling of the whole process over time. Very recently we have seen the passing of affirmative consent laws in New South Wales and the bravery of Saxon Mullins in talking about what happened to her against her wishes or without any affirmative consent.
For someone of my era, it is depressing that we are still talking about some of the same issues that I talked about with my friends and colleagues when I was a teenager, a young adult, a young mother. Many of these issues remain unsolved, and they do relate to equality and the treatment of women generally.
I would like to also point out that recently the newish New South Wales Treasurer released a budget statement that had a four-pronged approach to kick-starting the economy and increasing workforce participation of women through childcare. A boost for childcare was one of the major tenets of this kick-starting the economy program. Women front and centre are an important part of getting our economy booming once again after COVID.
We did hear that women were disproportionately affected during COVID. They lost their jobs, at least initially, at a greater rate. They can often be in more casual and part-time roles. They apparently took on more of the household duties while they were working from home or without work. And of course, during the learning from home, it was often women who disproportionately took on responsibility for helping children with their learning from home.
Everything that has happened in the women’s space so far this year is why I found it especially galling to see such a lacklustre attempt at a women’s budget statement from this Labor-Greens government this year. Once again, it was a glossy advertising opportunity, very scant on the detail of how the initiatives listed in the budget would affect Canberra women. Quite frankly, it is embarrassing, and I am surprised that the Minister for Women has not done more to provide women with clarity on how her government’s budget initiatives were affecting women and how the budget initiatives impact women. Instead, what we got was a pretty sad excuse for a women’s budget statement. I will give you a few examples. Under “Women’s safety initiatives” it listed upgrades to Beltana and Kallaroo roads in Pialligo. This referenced the Women’s Centre for Health Matters Safety Map for Women which, at that time at least, had zero input for that area in terms of women’s safety in the community. Very lazy!
There are many of us, I am sure, who have received representations from people in our community, especially women, about places where they feel unsafe. It may be about lighting in underpasses, for example, on their way home from the bus stop. Do not forget, usually they will have to walk further home from the bus stop these days because many of the bus stops have been closed and the buses are less frequent.
However, I digress. It is good that these roads in Pialligo are being upgraded. There is a real demand for it amongst the community there. But they are being upgraded because they have been neglected for years. Have you ever been out there to Pialligo