Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Supporting leadership opportunities for women

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator the Hon Penny Wong
    Minister for Finance and Deregulation
    Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

The 2013-14 Budget continues the Gillard Government’s commitment to supporting more Australian women into leadership positions, with additional funding of $4.3 million for BoardLinks over five years from 2011-12.

The Government established BoardLinks to improve the participation of women on boards because we recognise that improving leadership opportunities for women is fundamental to gender equality.

Despite being as equally skilled as their male counterparts, women continue to be underrepresented in senior decision-making positions. Only 15.7 per cent of board positions in ASX top 200 companies are held by women.

Funding will be provided for five years (from 2011-12) to assist in the continued delivery of BoardLinks and its database of candidates.

BoardLinks helps to increase female representation on Government boards by identifying board-ready women and providing a springboard for them to secure board experience through the public sector.

This will overcome the hurdle of prior board experience as a prerequisite for appointment, thereby expanding the pool of women that can be considered for private sector boards.

BoardLinks was established in November last year and already three women from the network have been appointed to a board.

A number of Australian business leaders have signed on as Champions of BoardLinks: Catherine Livingstone AO, Gail Kelly, David Gonski AC, Carol Schwartz AM, Elmer Funke-Kupper, Natasha Stott Despoja AM and Elana Rubin.

Women are nominated to BoardLinks by the Champions, major organisations and professional bodies, leading ASX companies, and not-for-profit representatives. Australian Institute of Company Directors’ Australian Government scholarship recipients have also been invited to participate in the Network.

BoardLinks will also play an important role in meeting the Government’s gender equality target of 40:40:20 on Australian Government boards by 2015. Significant progress has already been made, with 38.4 per cent of government board positions held by women at 30 June 2012, up from 33.4 per cent since 30 June 2009.

This Budget keeps our economy strong, makes the smart investments for our future and ensures all Australians get a fair go.

We are investing for the future, putting jobs and economic growth first and protecting the important services that Australians rely on.

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