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Budget 2021–22 Fact Sheets

Federal Budget
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You can download our fact sheets with the links above, or read their contents using the dropdowns below.

Enhanced legal and workplace services to support Australians

In the 2021-22 Budget, the Australian Government will provide more than $819.6 million to enhance legal and workplace services to support Australians. The Government’s significant investments in this year’s Budget will ensure Australia's legal and justice system is accessible and efficient. It will also ensure workplaces are fair, productive, flexible, safe and in the best possible position to help secure Australia’s recovery. Key measures are outlined below.

Legal and family support services

The Government will provide additional funding of $310 million through the National Legal Assistance Partnership, including:

  • $129 million in additional legal assistance funding under the Women’s Safety Package to allow women’s legal centres to help vulnerable women access justice
  • $60 million to provide dedicated legal assistance services for people with mental health issues
  • $83.1 million to enhance and expand the number and geographic coverage of Family Advocacy Support Services ($85 million including administration costs)
  • $17.1 million for enhancements of Domestic Violence Units and Health Justice Partnerships providing additional, mental health specific funding for these services to respond to the growing needs of women who have experienced family and domestic violence in rural and remote areas
  • $14.3 million to pilot legal assistance in family law matters for South Australia, and
  • $6.7 million to support child sexual abuse prosecutions.

The Government is making major investments in our family courts to ensure timely resolution of sensitive legal matters. The Government will provide $60.8 million to fundamentally transform family law case management in the federal family courts to deliver a safe, child-centred, supportive, accessible, timely and efficient court system for Australians. The Government will also provide $29 million to implement the National Strategic Framework for Information sharing between the Family Law and Family Violence and Child Protections Systems to improve family safety outcomes.

The Government will provide $101.4 million in additional funding to enhance existing and establish 20 new Children’s Contact Services, which provide a safe, reliable and neutral place for supervised contact and facilitated changeovers, to minimise conflict between parents and reduce the risk to women and children of ongoing family violence.

In addition, the Government will provide $15.7 million to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse and $6.3 million to the Attorney‑General’s Department to continue the Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties Scheme, which protects victims of family violence — who are primarily women — in family law proceedings. The Scheme enables victims of family violence to pursue family law outcomes that prioritise their safety and future economic security.

As part of the Women’s Economic Security Package, the Government will provide $10.7 million in additional funding to extend two well-received family law property pilots for a further 18 months to 30 June 2023. The complementary Small Claims Property Pilot and the Legal Aid Commission Trial assist separating couples with small property pools and will help to achieve affordable, timely property settlements.

Industrial relations and workplace safety

To support efficient, safe and productive workplaces, the Government will provide:

  • $10 million to invest in regulatory technology solutions for modern awards obligations. This funding will support a number of initiatives, including allowing payroll and business software developers to integrate, in real-time, data on award pay and conditions from the Fair Work Commission directly into payroll and business products. This will make it easier and cheaper for business to comply with awards, pay staff correctly and have greater confidence to hire new employees.
  • $8 million in additional funding for the Registered Organisations Commission to ensure registered organisations act responsibly, fairly and comply with their obligations under the legislation and that their members’ interests are protected.
  • $5.4 million in additional funding for the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency to support its work in helping to address Australia’s deadly asbestos legacy.

Integrity and other initiatives

On 19 April 2021, the Prime Minister, the Minister for Veteran’s Affairs and Defence Personnel and the Attorney-General announced that the Australian Government will provide $145.3 million over 2 years to establish a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicides. The Royal Commission will consider evidence from Australian Defence Force members, veterans and their families.

The government will also enhance integrity in Commonwealth agencies and programs by providing $17.2 million to continue to strengthen the Commonwealth’s capacity to counter fraud. It is estimated that $24 to $37 billion of Government expenditure is lost to fraud and error each year. This additional funding to counter fraud comprises $13.2 million to continue the Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Centre for four years and $4.0 million to support increased referrals of serious fraud cases from Taskforce Integrity to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Under its ‘Roadmap to Respect’, the Government will provide more than $15.3 million to respond to recommendations of the Respect at Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report. This funding will enable the Respect@Work Council to implement a number of recommendations. It will also enable Comcare to deliver national forums for Commonwealth, State and Territory work health and safety (WHS) inspectors on sexual harassment, and to provide training for employers and managers covered by Commonwealth WHS laws to better understand and meet their obligations.

More information

For more information on the 2021-22 Budget visit https://budget.gov.au/.

Keeping women safe at work

Respect@Work

On 20 June 2018 Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins with the Australian Government, announced a National Inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.

The Inquiry report ‘Respect@Work’ was tabled in Parliament on 5 March 2020. The Report found unacceptable levels of sexual harassment in the workplace – with nearly 40% of women having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the recent past.

A Roadmap for Respect

On 8 April 2021, the Australian Government announced its response to the Respect@Work Report, entitled ‘A Roadmap for Respect: Preventing and Addressing Sexual Harassment in Australian workplaces’. The response sets out the Government’s long-term commitment to preventing and addressing sexual harassment and building a culture of respect in Australian workplaces by agreeing to (in full, in part or in principle) or noting all 55 recommendations in the Report.

In the 2021-22 Budget, the Australian Government will provide more than $15.3 million to implement its Roadmap for Respect and respond to key recommendations of the Respect@Work Report, including:

  • $7.3 million to support the Respect@Work Council, implement a range of practical measures to address workplace sexual harassment, and to implement amendments to strengthen the legislative and regulatory framework.
  • $0.2 million in interim funding in 2021-22 to continue the targeted delivery of support for women on work-related matters, including workplace sexual harassment.
  • $1.7 million for Comcare to deliver training National Forums for Commonwealth, state and territory WHS Inspectors on sexual harassment, and training for employers and managers covered by Commonwealth WHS laws to better understand and meet their obligations. This funding has already been provided by Government.
  • $6 million to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) and the Australian Public Service Commission to strengthen public-sector reporting on sexual harassment prevalence, prevention and response.

The Government has committed additional funding as part of this Budget for legal assistance for specialist lawyers with workplace and discrimination law expertise. The financial details of this funding have not been published in the Budget due to ongoing discussions with states and territories in the context of their responses to the Respect@Work Report, which are due by the end of June 2021.

This funding builds on the $2.1 million provided in the 2020-21 Budget in October 2021 to fund the implementation of key recommendations from the Report, including the establishment of the Respect@Work Council. Action has also commenced on:

  • developing the Respect@Work website as an online platform to provide free, practical information and education resources for employers and workers
  • developing a package of training and education resources on the nature, drivers and impacts of sexual harassment as well as the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers; and
  • preparing for the fifth National Survey on Sexual Harassment in Australian workplaces.

The Australian Government has recognised the need for urgent action to prioritise women’s safety and economic security.

Women’s Safety

The Government will provide $320.1 million to maintain and expand critical frontline services to better support vulnerable women who are experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence as they are navigating the justice system, comprising:

  • $129 million to women’s legal centres to ensure that women and children can access support for a range of legal issues, including much-needed family law and family violence assistance.
  • $101.4 million to enhance existing and establish 20 new Children’s Contact Services, which provide a safe, reliable and neutral place for supervised contact and facilitated changeovers, to minimise conflict between parents, and reduce the risk to women and children of ongoing family violence.
  • $85 million to more than double the number and geographic coverage of Family Advocacy Support Services (FASS) from 24 to 50, ensuring that FASS are accessible to all family law litigants. FASS provide duty lawyer services and social supports, which will be enhanced through additional mental health supports, to people affected by family violence with cases before the family law courts.
  • $4.7 million for the Australian Government to develop a joint program of work with states and territories to strengthen the justice response to sexual assault, sexual harassment and coercive control.

Women’s Economic Security

The Government will provide $10.7 million under the Women’s Economic Security Package to assist vulnerable separated women with small value property disputes to achieve affordable, timely property settlements. This investment comprises:

  • $7.2 million to extend a trial of lawyer-assisted mediation through Legal Aid Commissions to help families with a property pool of up to $500,000 (excluding debt) to divide their property after separation.
  • $3.5 million to extend a pilot of a simpler and faster court process for dividing property of up to $500,000 between separated couples.

The extension of these pilots to June 2023 will ensure service continuity for many vulnerable separated women and will enable the government to consider the findings of the independent evaluation reports of the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) which are due in April 2022.

A Roadmap for Respect

The Government will provide more than $15.3 million to implement its Roadmap for Respect and respond to key recommendations of the Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces report. This funding builds on the $2.1 million provided in the 2020-21 Budget and comprises:

  • $7.3 million to support the Respect@Work Council, implement a range of practical measures to address workplace sexual harassment, and to implement amendments to strengthen the legislative and regulatory framework.
  • $0.2 million in interim funding in 2021-22 to continue the targeted delivery of support for women on work-related matters, including workplace sexual harassment.
  • $1.7 million for Comcare to deliver training National Forums for Commonwealth, state and territory WHS Inspectors on sexual harassment, and training for employers and managers covered by Commonwealth WHS laws to better understand and meet their obligations. This funding has already been provided.
  • $6 million to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) and the Australian Public Service Commission to strengthen public-sector reporting on sexual harassment prevalence, prevention and response.

The Government has committed additional funding as part of this Budget for legal assistance for specialist lawyers with workplace and discrimination law expertise. The financial details of this funding have not been published in the Budget due to ongoing discussions with states and territories in the context of their responses to the Respect@Work Report, which are due by the end of June 2021.

Improving the family law system and strengthening justice responses

The Government will provide more than $113 million to support women and families experiencing domestic and family violence through a number of measures to increase information sharing and support in the family law system by providing:

  • $60.8 million to enable the family courts to implement a new approach to family law case management that delivers a safe, child-centred, supportive, accessible, timely and efficient court system for Australians.
  • $17.1 million to increase access to legal and mental health support services to women across Australia who have experienced, or are experiencing, family violence. This will be delivered through enhancements to the 21 existing Domestic Violence Units and Health Justice Partnerships, allowing for regional outreach services and specialist mental health supports.
  • $6.3 million in additional funding for 2021-22 will be provided to state and territory Legal Aid Commissions under the Family Violence and Cross-Examination of Parties Scheme to protect victims of family violence — who are primarily women — in family law proceedings. The Scheme enables victims of family violence to pursue family law outcomes that prioritise their safety and future economic security.
  • In addition, $29 million will support implementation of the National Strategic Framework for Information Sharing between the Family Law and Family Violence and Child Protection Systems, which will improve family safety outcomes in the family courts and through state and territory family violence and child protection systems, by ensuring decision makers have prompt and timely access to all relevant family violence information.

Enhanced workplace services to support Australians

Through the 2021-22 Budget, the Australian Government will implement initiatives to help rebuild our economy by reducing the regulatory burden on Australian businesses – including small businesses – giving them incentive to grow and hire more staff.

These measures will help businesses better comply with modern awards, support work to reduce the incidence of asbestos-related diseases, and strengthen compliance with industrial laws that protect the interests of working Australians.

New solutions for modern award obligations

Regulatory Technology

The Australian Government will invest $10 million in regulatory technology solutions for modern awards obligations. This funding will support a number of initiatives, including allowing payroll and business software developers to integrate, in real-time, data on award pay and conditions from the Fair Work Commission directly into payroll and business products.

The package includes:

  • $5.2 million to develop a secure gateway for Fair Work Commission data to be directly integrated into existing and new payroll and business software;
  • $2.3 million to support and drive the development and uptake of regulatory technology solutions through proactive engagement with the payroll technology sector;
  • $2.5 million for a dedicated Business Research and Innovation Initiative challenge, which will seek innovative ideas that maximise the Government’s investment and deliver lower cost solutions to address market gaps, particularly for small businesses.

This will make it easier and cheaper for business to navigate complex awards, help reduce unintended errors, assist in paying staff correctly and have greater confidence to hire new employees.

Employer Advisory Service

These measures build on the government’s earlier commitments to providing enhanced services and information for business and employees, including the Fair Work Ombudsman’s new Employer Advisory Service for small business.

Last year, the Government committed $12.9 million for the Employer Advisory Service, which is due to launch on 1 July 2021.

Small businesses will be able to obtain free written advice from the Fair Work Ombudsman to help them understand and meet their workplace obligations and avoid unintentionally underpaying their employees.

Monitoring Registered Organisations

Registered organisations represent more than 2 million members, control more than $3.2 billion in assets and collected annual revenue in excess of $1.6 billion in 2019-20.

The Australian Government will provide additional funding of $8 million to the Registered Organisations Commission so that it can continue to provide education, assistance and advice to registered organisations and their members.

This funding will ensure that the Registered Organisations Commission can undertake its monitoring and enforcement functions, delivering on the government’s commitment to enforce Australia’s industrial laws and protect members of registered organisations by ensuring appropriate consequences for organisations or officers when they do not comply with the law.

Addressing asbestos

Asbestos continues to take a heavy toll on Australian lives – an estimated 4,000 Australians die each year from asbestos exposure, which is more than double the annual road toll.

The Australian Government will provide additional funding of $5.4 million to the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency to expand its critical work in helping to address Australia’s deadly asbestos legacy.

This will enable improvements to the Agency’s data and research capabilities and allow it to undertake an increased role in raising public awareness about the risks of asbestos and how to avoid exposure.

The Agency will also continue to track national progress towards achieving the targets set out in the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management 2019-23.