Skip to content

2022 Federal Budget a missed opportunity to build an economy that delivers for all

2022 Federal Budget a missed opportunity to build an economy that delivers for all
29 March 2022: While welcoming some modest measures, Chief Executive Women (CEW) says this year’s budget should have done more to deliver long-term measures needed to increase women’s workforce participation and build an economy that delivers for all.

Download media release

CEW welcomes measures including the enhanced Paid Parental Leave Scheme to 20 weeks with both parents eligible, the investment for implementing the new National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children and the investment in the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, as steps in the right direction.

However, the budget falls short of the significant reform needed to release women into economic participation.

Chief Executive Women President Sam Mostyn AO said “This budget missed an opportunity to deliver long-lasting impact for women and the economy. Targeted, intentional investment is needed to deliver well-paid, secure jobs in the care sectors and to make early childhood affordable for families – a key of cost-of-living pressure that has not been addressed.

“We need to acknowledge that women have an essential role to play. Their underemployment and underutilisation should be a key focus in order to help grow our economy.

“Halving the workforce participation gap between men and women would increase Australia’s annual GDP by $60 billion by 2038. Social infrastructure that enables women’s economic participation must be viewed in the same way we measure infrastructure like roads and construction – an investment in Australia’s future.

“Despite the investment in skills and training and in national skills reform, more needs to be done to address the chronically underpaid, undervalued work of our care industries. These industries are vital to a healthy, functioning economy, but the workers – mostly women – are running on empty.

We need to show care industries the respect they deserve through intentional policy that ensures secure, well-paid jobs. These jobs must provide career progression to attract the workforce of the future – both men and women,

Ms Mostyn said.

CEW welcomes the investment in up to 20 new early childhood centres in rural and regional centres. However, CEW is disappointed that there are no new budget measures to ease the cost of early childhood education and care or address the workforce disincentives in the current Child Care Subsidy scheme.

“This so-called cost of living budget ignores the reality that for many families, early childhood education and care is one of the biggest outgoings in the family budget. Right now, there are women who reluctantly say no to extra days of work simply because of the cost of childcare.

Australia needs to recognise that investment in early education is also an investment in women’s workforce participation. We must build towards a system where all children under five receive universal access to early education. We saw it work early in the pandemic and we know it’s a win for all,

Ms Mostyn said.

CEW welcomes the availability of 20 weeks Paid Parental Leave available to mothers and their partners, noting it is a good start for new parents, particularly single parents.

However CEW advocates for an increase to 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave with a clear use it or lose it component to encourage effective take-up by partners.

Chief Executive Women President Sam Mostyn said, “Unlike the proposed scheme, a ‘Use it or lose it’ approach is a proven way to ensure both men and women are taking up parental leave. Insufficient action on Paid Parental Leave means women will continue to be left behind.”

Expanding the Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave Scheme to 26 weeks shared care would give both parents vital time with their family, while providing a mechanism to increase women’s workforce participation. This would be a real boost to GDP of $900 million a year through increased workforce participation,

Ms Mostyn said.

CEW continues to call on government to implement all 55 recommendations from the Respect@Work report, particularly the positive duty of care for employers under the Sex Discrimination Act.

In addition to the measures above, CEW also welcomes the one-off cost of living tax offset combined with the LMITO, the one-off cost of living payment for pensioners and welfare recipients, and continued investment for women in STEM programs and entrepreneurship.

CEW’s members are among the most senior women leaders from the business, government and community sectors. CEW’s 800 members hold leading roles in Australia’s largest private and public organisations. They oversee more than 1.3 million employees and $749 billion in revenue. Member’s organisations have a combined market capitalisation greater than $1.144 trillion and contribute in excess of $249 billion to Australia’s GDP, which indicates the scope and scale of the impact of our Budget recommendations.

Media contact:
Claire Morgan – Chief Executive Women E: cmorgan@cew—current-site.test M: +61 422 228 285



Today we released our seventh annual Chief Executive Women Senior Executive Census which tracks the annual progress of women’s representation in the senior leadership teams of Australia’s top companies. Latest data shows that women remain undeniably underrepresented in leadership teams across Australia’s top businesses and gender parity at the top is still at least half...
CEW welcomes significant Federal Budget to enable women’s economic participation and support the most vulnerable women across the economy Chief Executive Women (CEW) welcomes the Federal Budget and Women’s Budget Statement as an impactful Budget for women, with crucial measures to enable women’s participation in the economy, while supporting vulnerable women who are most impacted...
Chief Executive Women (CEW) welcomes the passing of the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023, a vital step forward to enable women and to advance gender equality in Australian workplaces.   CEW Policy and Engagement Committee Chair Pauline Vamos said: “CEW welcomes this important reform, which will improve transparency and...
Diversity Council Australia (DCA), along with partners Settlement Services International (SSI) and Chief Executive Women (CEW) have today launched an exciting new and groundbreaking project to build pathways to leadership for women from culturally and racially marginalised (CARM) and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. The project, Realise. Inspire. Support. Energise. (RISE) will work to address the...
New data from Workplace Gender Equality Agency released today shows that progress on closing the workplace gender pay gap has stalled. Women are on average earning $26,600 less than men. The WGEA 2021-22 Employer Census also found: ❌ Just 22% of CEOs are women. ❌ Men are more likely to hold managerial positions, even in...
The Chief Executive Women Leadership Summit, hosted on Tuesday, 6 September 2022, brought leaders together for an uncensored conversation about what can be done to break through the malaise and achieve gender equality for the benefit of all in Australia. In a day of inspiring discussion and keynote speeches, attendees were left empowered to drive...
Chief Executive Women welcomes the Albanese Government’s Federal Budget and Women’s Budget Statement, which recognise that gender equality is at the heart of Australia’s future prosperity and resilience. CEW supports investments in measures to address cost of living pressures and enable women’s workforce participation, economic contribution, health and safety. READ MORE
Leveraging women’s participation and leadership is one of the most effective actions for business and government to boost the Australian economy. As we build for recovery, while facing critical labour and skills shortages, we need to invest in our people and place care at the centre of our economy. We cannot afford to delay this...
Chief Executive Women welcomes the Albanese Labor Government’s announcement to boost Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave (PPL) from 18 weeks to 26 weeks. CEW has long advocated for a package of reforms, of which PPL is a critical lever, in unlocking women’s workforce participation and boosting the economy. The increase to 26 weeks paid parental leave,...
The progress on women reaching the most senior leadership roles in corporate Australia is going backwards, according to the 2022 Chief Executive Women (CEW) Senior Executive Census, and at this rate it will take 100 years for women to make up at least 40% of all CEO positions on the ASX200. Now in its sixth...