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Cash sweetener for women returning to work in upcoming NSW budget



The New South Wales government is set to announce a cash sweetener to assist women returning to the workforce.

9News can reveal in the upcoming state budget an additional $32 million in funding will be added to the Return to Work Program for women.

This will provide grants of up to $5000 to eligible women to help cover the cost of common financial barriers including wardrobe, technology and training.

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"We want to provide them the financial independence they need to get back into the workforce and help set them up for success in the future," treasurer Matt Kean said. 

The new funding is set to help an additional 6000 women with their return to the workforce or to complete new training.

Robyn Elbakri was a travel agent for 21 years but during the COVID-19 pandemic, she lost her job.

Major funding boost for Return to Work program for women in upcoming NSW budget.

"To be honest, I was gutted, I was distraught and I guess I went through the grieving process," Elbakri said. 

Elbakri was also daunted by the prospect of entering a new industry and heading back into the workforce.

"Quite honestly, it was terrifying," she said.

She was able to access a women's return to work grant from the state government to do a course and now works as a customer service representative at a medical company.

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Major funding boost for Return to Work program for women in upcoming NSW budget.

During the last budget which occurred during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,  $10 million was allocated to the women's return to work program. 

The 1,500 women who qualified for the grants received them and 65 per cent of those women entered new jobs, the government said.

"It was a response to COVID-19 because we knew women were more adversely affected by COVID as it impacted the industries that were female dominated we knew we had to do something different," Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said.

"In NSW we know if women are thriving, the whole state thrives."

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Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor speaks on major funding boost for Return to Work program for women.

Women who have been unemployed for at least a month and looking to start work within six months will be eligible for the grants. 

Applications open from July 1. 

The full details of this year's NSW Budget will be unveiled on June 21.

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