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Gender impact analysis and the taxation of retirement savings in Australia


Gender impact analysis of the tax transfer system makes gender issues in policies and budgets visible and enables their complexities to be revealed. By doing so, it facilitates the development of more equitable and efficient alternatives. This article provides a gender impact analysis of Australia’s taxation and expenditure arrangements for superannuation and the age pension. By including both paid and unpaid work in the analysis, it identifies a number of critical features of the tax and transfer system that foster gender inequality. The article concludes that the gender impacts of the current policy on retirement savings and income should be addressed through a range of policy and budgetary changes. In particular, it advocates re-balancing the resourcing of superannuation tax concessions and the age pension, improving the rate of the age pension and removing the existing barriers to women’s workforce participation that have been created by the income tax/family benefit system, including high childcare costs.

Author profiles

Siobhan Austen
Siobhan is a Associate Professor, School of Economics and Finance, Curtin University.
Current at 1 December 2015
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Rhonda Sharp
Rhonda is a Professor, Adjunct Hawke Research Institute, University of South Australia.
Current 1 December 2015>/i>
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Dr Helen Hodgson CTA
Helen joined Curtin Law School as an Associate Professor in 2014, following 10 years teaching in the Atax programme at UNSW. Helen has a particular interest in tax policy, and was a participant at the 2010 Tax Forum. Her current area of research is the tax-transfer system, but she also researches in superannuation, and the gender impacts of the tax-transfer system. In 2010, Helen was a co-author of the Women's Voices Report commissioned by the Equality Rights Alliance to examine factors influencing women's workforce participation, including superannuation, tax and transfer issues. Helen holds qualifications in accounting, business law and taxation, and is a Fellow of the Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants. - Current at 08 July 2019
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