Australia to boost childcare subsidies in women-friendly budget

The Australian government has pledged a female-friendly budget on May 11. PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) - The Australian government is considering boosting childcare subsidies in next month's budget to encourage workforce participation and increase its popularity among female voters, the Australian Financial Review reported.

Getting more women into work, taking on more hours and completing skills training are key priorities, the newspaper cited Senator Jane Hume, the newly appointed Minister for Women's Economic Security, as saying in an interview.

"You can't undo every inequality or tear down every barrier or make right every wrong in one budget," Hume told the newspaper. "But we can make significant inroads and we can also signal we mean business and there is more to do."

Options include removing the AUD$10,560 (S$10, 814) annual per-child cap on the subsidy, the newspaper said, without saying where it obtained the information.

The Sun-Herald newspaper said the budget will also contain new policies to bolster pension savings and tackle domestic violence.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government has pledged a female-friendly budget on May 11, as it seeks to shore up support among women voters amid a backlash over its handling of sexual assault allegations in parliament.

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken part in rallies across the nation demanding greater female representation in parliament and tough action against sexual violence and discrimination.

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