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Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

Release of new GBE guidelines

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator Penny Wong,Minister for Finance and Deregulation

Key Government bodies such as Australia Post and NBN Co will have to focus on gender diversity in their board appointments, under new guidelines for government bodies released today.

The revised guidelines strengthen board appointment processes, ensuring Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) take note of the Gillard Government’s 40 per cent target for women on boards. This will be done through a clear statement of expectation that gender balance is to be achieved in line with the Government’s target.

At present, this is only a requirement for Ministers in making board appointments.

Senator Wong made the announcement tonight in a speech to the Global Banking Alliance for Women Summit in Sydney.

The guidelines cover GBEs such as the Australian Submarine Corporation, Australia Post, Australian Rail Track Corporation, Medibank Private and NBN Co.

At present, 29 per cent of positions on GBE boards are filled by women.

The main changes effected through the revised GBE guidelines relate to the clarification of GBE mandates, increased emphasis on ethical standards, financial governance and performance monitoring through strengthened reporting.

These changes have been informed by recommendations from GBE boards, shareholder ministers, departmental officials and professional bodies.

This is part of a broader process to implement Better Government – by improving the delivery of government services and upgrading public management frameworks.

The revised GBE guidelines – which have not been updated since 1997 – will take effect immediately. They are part of the overall governance framework for GBEs and complement the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.

The revised Commonwealth Government Enterprises Governance and Oversight Guidelines are available at: www.finance.gov.au/publications.