Australian Treasurer to Address Women’s Safety, Health in Budget

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is pledging more spending to improving women’s economic and health outcomes in his May 11 budget, including a focus on protecting them from domestic violence.

“To know that one in four Australian women suffer violence at the hands of a partner or a former partner is just heartbreaking,” Frydenberg told Sky News Australia. “It’s not good enough. Things need to change and initiatives we will put in place in the budget will do that.”

The government also announced Sunday a A$354 million ($278 million) women’s health package including funding for cervical and breast cancer, endometriosis and reproductive health. On Saturday, Frydenberg announced a plan aimed at helping single parents -- many of whom are women -- get access to loans for their first home.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants the budget to focus voter attention on the strength of the economic recovery as he prepares to seek another term at an election due within a year. But his standing with female voters plunged following an awkward response to allegations of sexism and rape within Parliament House.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement the four-year women’s health package will improve cervical and breast cancer screening to boost early detection and raise survival rates. It will also target help for the one-in-nine Australian women who suffer from endometriosis, and will fund a drug that can reduce the rate of pre-term births, which affect 8% of all women, he said.

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