In that time much has changed but real and enduring equality is yet to be embedded across all workplaces.
The Victorian Government is proposing a new law that will make public bodies more accountable for promoting gender equality in the workplace. Under the proposal there are specific actions that public bodies have to comply with.
This is a positive step and the Commission is pleased to contribute to the proposed draft bill with our submission.
Our ideas for strengthening the proposed new law
To help us achieve our vision we’ve made some recommendations to the proposed law, which have been formed by our extensive experience in this area.
The Commission resolves complaints, conducts research, and provides tailored education and support in the development of equal opportunity, human rights and diversity and inclusion action plans.
We also provide information and advice and intervene in court proceedings related to sex discrimination, sexual harassment and gender inequality.
Some of our key recommendations:
- Clarify that the term 'gender' includes men and women, covers people who identify as trans and are intersex, and captures intersectional experiences of gender equality.
- Strengthen the objectives by aligning them more closely with other laws such as the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic), the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Cth) and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth).
- Fund the development and delivery of tailored education, consultancy and guidance materials to support public bodies to develop Gender Equality Action Plans.
- Create a list of minimum standards that public bodies must address in their Gender Equality Action Plans.
- Clarify targets and indicators and expand to capture additional areas where gender inequality occurs in the workplace.
- Consult with gender equality stakeholders, and consider their recommendations, before outlining targets and indicators.
- Appoint and resource the Commission to be the independent body to oversee the implementation of the new law because of our expertise and unique role
- Make sure the independent body can:
- provide independent support, guidance, resources and advice
- review Gender Equality Action Plans and any related reports or analysis
- maintain a public register of Gender Equality Action Plans and related reports
- request further information to assist it in reviewing compliance with the legislation
- offer targeted support and advice to non-compliant public bodies to help them comply
- submit a report to the Minister with the names of non-compliant defined entities, including the details of non-compliance and the steps the entity proposes to take to address non-compliance
- publish the names of non-compliant entities in its own report or on its website
- report to the Minister on the overall implementation of the legislation and progress towards gender equality in Victoria.
- In order to complement and strengthen the gender equality legislation, we suggest that consideration should be given to reinstating the Commission’s previous functions under the Equal Opportunity Act, in relation to the threshold requirements of the investigative function, public inquiries and compliance powers.
Contact the Commission
Our dispute resolution service is free and confidential. We can send you information about the complaint process and if we can’t help you we will try to refer you to someone who can.
To make a complaint:
- call our Enquiry Line on 1300 292 153 or email [email protected]. We also have a free interpreter service
- submit your complaint online or download our complaint form (DOC, 230KB)
- chat to us online
Find out more about making a complaint.