Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 17 August 2017) . . Page.. 2942 ..
Debate resumed from 15 August 2017.
MADAM ACTING SPEAKER: I remind members that in debating order of the day No 1, executive business, they may also address their remarks to executive business order of the day No 2, and Assembly business orders of the day relating to the report of the Selection Committee on Estimates 2017-2018 and the government response.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (4.19): It is pleasing to see a number of initiatives in the 2017-18 budget in relation to women, but I must admit that they are very hard to identify, which is part of the point of my question earlier today—what is the impact on different groups—and I was specifically speaking about women. I note that the expansion of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children includes an expansion to paediatrics, the high dependency unit and the adolescent unit. All of these are much-needed initiatives; I am not talking against them in any way. But I am concerned that they have been put in the budget papers as initiatives for women, which is bizarre. Are fathers not parents also? Do they not benefit from an expanded paediatrics ward? Are not many adolescents male? By casting these initiatives as initiatives that benefit women we must be really careful not to perpetuate gender stereotypical ideas, and I fear that this is what is happening in the absence of any real gender analysis in the budget and any real assessment of impacts of initiatives on women. It is a way of indicating that women have been considered when, in fact, it is a cursory acknowledgement that women stand to benefit from some of these initiatives.
There are other areas which have been identified, including funding for women in trades and assistance to help mature-age workers enhance their skills. I will talk specifically about mature-age workers because my understanding is that, in fact, while it was mentioned in the budget, it did not actually receive any funding. This is the output area for funding for seniors, and this is one other area where we need some analysis and we have not got it. It is important in a lot of things. It is important in considering the substantial changes that are happening to our taxation base with the move from stamp duty to rates. It is really important in terms of housing. We know the fastest growing group of homeless people are older women. And transport, we know, again, that older people find it more difficult. Yesterday we had the discussion about parking for disabled people. Overwhelmingly disabled people are older people. Either way, whatever age they are, whatever gender they are, we know we are not giving enough emphasis to parking for the disabled, and many other things.
The point I am trying to make is that old people, young people, women, men, intersex et cetera all have different issues, and it is not clear from the budget papers how these different initiatives impact on different groups. As the Greens seniors spokesperson, I say we need to do more. One of the things I am particularly interested in is elder abuse, and there has recently been a commonwealth inquiry into this. It is clear that this is a growing issue of concern and one where I think the ACT may well need to do some work.
I notice the continuing initiatives to increase the number of women joining ACT Fire & Rescue and an investment and commitment to women in sports. Of