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Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

Australian workplaces celebrated for women’s advancement

Thirty Australian businesses committed to advancing women in the workplace were recognised today at the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency’s Business Achievement Awards held in Sydney.

Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis, said the awards were an opportunity to acknowledge Australian workplaces which are committed to improving equal opportunity for women in business.

“The EOWA 2011 Business Achievement Awards is a chance for all Australians to recognise and celebrate the contributions and progress made by such top performing organisations,” Ms Ellis said.

“Women bring depth to business and decision making, and more importantly, as a result, Australian workplaces have improved profitability and governance.

“Empowering women and supporting them to achieve their potential remains a top priority for the Australian Government, and gender equality is a critical part of our efforts to improve women’s workforce participation.”

Ms Ellis announced CSL Limited as the winner of the Minister’s Award for its commitment to creating and sustaining a diverse and flexible work-based childcare service for its employees.

“CSL Limited opened its Thinking Kids Children’s Centre, an early childhood education and care centre at CSL’s Parkville site in Victoria, meeting an identified need among its 1800 local employees to support those returning to work after having a child.

“The organisation offers its employees 52 weeks parental leave, 12 weeks paid maternity leave, flexible working conditions and lactation breaks, along with school holiday care services and support for families.

“The concept behind a work-based childcare service occurred after a survey by CSL found that staff were not returning to work after maternity leave for a variety of reasons, including lack of onsite childcare services.

“I am delighted to see CSL Limited, along with the other category finalists – Catholic Education Office Diocese of Wollongong, Hayman Island Great Barrier Reef, the University of Sydney and Maddocks –  addressing inequalities in the workplace and giving women more opportunities to participate and progress.

“Each and every one of the 30 finalists has demonstrated innovation and initiative for advancing women in the workplace, showcasing the very best in corporate behaviours,” Ms Ellis said.

The Australian Government has announced significant reforms to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency and Act and an almost doubling of funding to the organisation.

These reforms and increased funding will give EOWA the support it needs to work with business and drive better outcomes for employers and for working women and men.