Female equality key to ‘better’ economic future: PM

Achieving equality for Australian women, particularly in terms of pay, is essential to the nation’s economic future, the Prime Minister will declare.

Anthony Albanese plans to emphasise the issue in a speech to business leaders in Canberra on Thursday.

“Equality for women – in participation, in pay, in leadership opportunities, in financial security – is an essential precondition for Australia’s future economic growth,” he will say in a speech at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia function in Parliament House.

“Equality for women is at the heart of our vision for a better future.

“It’s also one of the forces that will shape the economy over the coming decade.”

Mr Albanese will restate that before the year is out, the Labor federal government will make pay equity a key objective of the Fair Work Act, especially in sectors where female employees dominate like aged, child and disability care.

“We will create expert panels to give special attention to improving pay in the care and community sector … alongside the submission we have made to the Fair Work Commission, calling for a significant pay rise for aged-care workers and committing to fund it.

“The inescapable, uncomfortable reality is that the workforces with the most women are the ones with the least bargaining power – and, as a result, the lowest pay.”

Mr Albanese will also remind his audience about how often the issue of women’s equality was raised during last week’s two-day jobs and skills summit in Canberra.

“To me, that felt like a bit of a breakthrough moment in the public debate,” he will say.

“The challenge now is to convert that affirming moment of consensus and goodwill into lasting change and progress.”

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