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Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Making it fair for working women

The Australian Government today welcomed the Making it Fair report from the House of Representatives pay equity inquiry.

The report is a comprehensive investigation of the complex pay equity issue.

It is clear that despite all our advances on gender equality, women continue to earn less than men.

There is a gap of around 17 per cent between male and female full-time earnings.

There are many factors which contribute to pay inequities, including occupational and industry segregation, undervaluation of women’s work and difficulties in balancing work and caring responsibilities.

The Government is determined to make a real difference to the working lives of women, and assist families to balance work and family life, improve women’s economic security and close the gender pay gap.

We will now seriously consider all recommendations included in the House of Representatives report.

In considering the recommendations, we will of course be mindful of the needs of business.

The Government has already taken several steps to achieve greater equality for women, including:

  • Changes to the Fair Work Act to include the right to equal pay for work of equal or comparable value.
  • A special bargaining stream for the low paid that will benefit many women in low paid sectors, such as cleaning, childcare and the community sector.
  • Implementing a process to progress a pay equity test case under the new provisions in the Fair Work Act for the social and community services sector.

The review of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 will also be an opportunity to consider these issues further.