Statement on the 2023-2024 Federal Budget

Empowered Women in Trades (EWIT), National Association for Women in Construction (NAWIC) and Tradeswomen Australia (TWA) have come together to welcome key measures in the 2023-2024 Federal Budget that seek to redress inequity for women in Australian trades.

This really is a significant moment” said Hacia Atherton, Founder, EWIT. “I think for too long we have sought and argued for systemic change to address and change the stubborn statistic of only 2% of women on tools in trades, and our sense now is that we are getting the right levers in place to get that change started.”

“For NAWIC, we see real opportunities for women in trades, in bringing together the range of strategies in the skills and training portfolio that were announced last night” said Christina Yiakkoupis, National Chairperson from NAWIC “The skills guarantee with targets for women on tools and on site together with the deliberate support for female apprentices and, the support for businesses with minimum standards for employers that use apprentices is important as a whole.”

“To see that national cabinet has agreed that gender equality and women’s participation in the labour market will be the focus of the next National Skills Agreement is so welcome” said Kit McMahon, Chair of Tradeswomen Australia Group.  “The statement expresses a clear goal and intent to centre equity at the heart of skills and training and, in doing so, will drive reform throughout the system.”

“Of course, all of this requires hard work, collaboration, and sustained effort to achieve,” said Hacia Atherton. “We are keen to work with government, and the states and territories to translate these policies into industries so that our great trade industries can benefit from a truly diverse workforce. The recognition in the policies that it requires work in both the learning pathways to trades, and within in employers is very welcome.  What is really important to recognise is that equality is good for the whole industry,” Yes, it is great for women to be able to get into a great industry with well paid jobs and strong meaningful careers, but it’s also great for enabling and creating positive workplaces and a safer industry,”.

“These policies will only be as good as their implementation and the experience of TWA shows that it has to be accompanied with capacity building and cultural change if we are to move that dial of equality in our gender segregated workforce, “said Kit McMahon of TWA. “We can have all the attraction programs in the world, but if we don’t address the root cause of the problem – inequality – then the investment will be for nought. We are all keen to be a part of the solution. Another crucial part of this budget and the information that underpins the skills and training announcements is the recognition of working with specialized organisations with expertise in supporting women in trades.  I speak on behalf of all organisations that work in the space – including TWA, NAWIC and EWIT – when I say that this is so welcome because our organisations centre on the lived experience of women working in trades and because of that, we understand the specific needs, services and support that are required.”

“NAWIC knows that there are so many good stories and great companies in construction that are doing the right thing. We want that to be everywhere across Australia, for all workers to get the benefits of a diverse, safe and productive trade industry,” said Christina Yiakkoupis from NAWIC.  “This will require communication, engagement, and investment over the long term. Our sector is here to stay the course fully aware that social change takes time, and we look forward to working with governments to do just that.”

Key Measures that TWA, NAWIC and EWIT note in this statement are:
  • $3.7 billion upon striking a five-year National Skills Agreement with states and territories to ensure more access to vocational education and training, with TAFE at the centre. National Cabinet has agreed that gender equality and women’s participation in labour markets will be a focus of the National Skills Agreement.
  • National targets for apprentices, trainees and paid cadets working on Australian Government funded major infrastructure and ICT projects through $8.6million to deliver the Australian Skills Guarantee. This includes responsible sub targets to boost women’s participation in apprenticeships.
  • $54.3 million in critical Australian Apprenticeship supports to improve completion rates. Improving the quality of services and better targeted support will be particularly crucial to supporting women.
  • $5 million funding to better support women in male dominated industries by providing appropriate expertise to support them in workplaces. This includes work to address workplace challenges and support businesses to attract and retain women.


Media Contacts

EWIT                                                 NAWIC                                                            TWA

Hacia Atherton                                   Christina Yiakkoupis                                          Kit McMahon

Founder                                                National Chairperson                                        Chair

Phone: 0404811084                          Phone: 0429 954 585                                        Phone: 0408250272



About the organisations

Who is EWIT?

Empowered Women in Trades (EWIT) is a registered charity organization to support educational institutions and workplaces to encourage women to see trades as a viable career path.

In collaboration with educational institutions and industry leaders, we aim to increase women’s role in learning the trade skills required for people and industry to thrive.

In order to rebuild Australia’s trades-based sectors and to enhance our communities and businesses, EWIT is there for women in the workforce to learn the skills to thrive in these industries. We will support women to enter trade and excel into leadership positions across trades industries. While supporting industry to ensure that workplaces have the resources to enhance the economic development of the sector.

Who is TWA?

The Tradeswomen Australia Group (TWA) was founded from the experience of women’s barriers to getting and maintaining a job in male-dominated trades. The not-for-profit organisation seeks to address those barriers by providing services and support, to women and girls hoping to enter a trade, employers of tradespeople and the education and training sector to change gender inequality in these sectors.

Our vision is to see an Australia where women and girls want to, can and do, work successfully in trades.

We seek to realise this vision by creating equity and equality in trades by:

  • Partnering with employers to shape culturally safe workplaces and
  • Educating, supporting and mentoring girls and women in non-traditional trades


Who is NAWIC?

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is an Australian, not-for-profit organisation established in 1995.

Our Vision is to create an equitable construction industry where women fully participate.

NAWIC is led by a team of passionate volunteers who strive to help champion and empower women in the construction and related industries to reach their full potential. With Chapters in every state as well as the Northern and Australian Capital Territories, we are also part of a global network of NAWIC organisations, including those in the United States, New Zealand and Canada.

NAWIC provides a forum for its members to meet and exchange information, ideas and solutions. We also offer our members an opportunity to expand personal and business networks, maintain awareness of industry developments, improve skills and knowledge and make a contribution to other women in the construction industry.