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There’s been increasing attention on the failure of this budget for women who have been disproportionately affected by, and disproportionately at the front lines of, the pandemic.

While the government’s women’s economic statement brightly informs us about ongoing support for social and community services, it’s worth noting a little detail in the budget papers: the government is ceasing to provide the equal remuneration order (ERO) supplement under the national housing and homelessness agreement in the middle of next year.

Groups like Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) have previously written about the importance of maintaining the government supplement, which helps organisations meet the increasing staffing costs resulting from the Fair Work Commission’s landmark ruling on social and community services pay rates.

One of the many ways in which women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic has been the expected rise in domestic violence that accompanies crises. The budget appears to fail women on that front too.

Once the government ditches the ERO supplement — if the states don’t pick up the slack — it will stymie organisations whose priorities include housing for women and children affected by family and domestic violence. If that happens, the budget won’t just have left women behind. It may push them further backwards.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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