Federal Budget priorities fail to invest in lives of rural women

WOMEN'S Health Loddon Mallee executive officer Linda Beilharz says the Federal Budget has failed rural women.

"I feel depressed, really, because of the indication that the budget gives to the values that are held by the government and what that means in the investment that we've made in women's health in the region," she said.

Linda Beilharz

Linda Beilharz

"It will take us backwards in terms of the prevention efforts that have been going on by a whole lot of people over the years.

"Prevention is built on an investment in people, education, community level things, and it's not something you can address with building big infrastructure.

"While the infrastructure can be useful it doesn't help us keep the communities alive and well."

Ms Beilharz said the Federal Budget would decrease the disposable income of the most vulnerable by increasing the cost of essential services, increasing stress and reducing capacity of individuals to seek timely health and welfare support. 

Ms Beilharz said woman comprised a large proportion of that vulnerable group. 

“Twice as many women are primary carers than men," she said.

"Two-thirds of those women report negative impacts on wellbeing.

"While the parental leave scheme is a welcome support to working mothers it reinforces women’s role as primary carers and does not support couples to share parenting.

"Research into health and social issues shows that rigid gender stereotypes are clearly detrimental to both men and women, children and society as a whole."

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