Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Government welcomes HREOC plan of action on gender equality

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Robert McClelland MP, Attorney-General

The Australian Government welcomes the launch of the Listening Tour Community Report and Plan of Action towards Gender Equality by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick.

The action plan focuses on the themes of women and leadership, balancing paid work and family responsibilities, sexual harassment in Australia, the gender gap in retirement savings and laws to address sex discrimination and promote gender equality.

The Commissioner’s work complements the Government’s priorities, particularly women’s economic security, safety, and full participation in every aspect of Australian life.

The Government congratulates Commissioner Broderick on the agenda she has set and looks forward to collaborating with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) to progress this plan of action.

The Rudd Government understands the pressure on working families to balance work and family commitments.

Under the Rudd Government’s new workplace relations system, parents will have access to improved parental leave and flexible work arrangements. Under the Government’s new system each parent will be entitled to separate periods of up to 12 months’ unpaid parental leave.

Alternatively, one parent may request up to an additional 12 months’ unpaid parental leave. This means families will be able to have one parent at home with a child for the first two years of their child’s life.

Labor’s new workplace relations system will also ensure parents have a ‘right to request’ flexible work arrangements to assist with caring for children under school age.

The Government has also committed $12 million to specifically help small businesses provide innovative family friendly work arrangements.

In addition, the Government has asked the Productivity Commission to look into options for supporting parents in the workforce, including options for paid maternity, paternity and parental leave. The PC will provide its recommendations to government in February.

Parliamentary inquiries into the effectiveness of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and Gender Pay Equity and research into the impacts of retirement income policy on women’s capacity to save for retirement are also being undertaken.