Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

12 companies fail to comply with Equal Opportunity Act

Twelve Australian companies have failed to comply with the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act according to a new report tabled today.

The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency’s (EOWA) Annual Report identified 12 companies that have failed to either submit a report or meet prescribed conditions that support women in the workplace.

Under the Act, organisations are required to submit an annual compliance report that enables the assessment of conditions and provisions for women within their workplace.

Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis has called on the twelve companies to take immediate practical steps to create and maintain equitable workplaces for women.

“It is disappointing that these companies have failed to recognise the importance of Australia’s equal opportunity legislation and also the vast benefits of employing and supporting women workers,” Ms Ellis said.

EOWA works with private sector employers to stamp out discrimination and implement strategies to ensure that women and men have equal access to promotions, salary and management positions.

Australian businesses are required to provide the Agency with evidence that they are driving these strategies in their companies and the Agency collects information and monitors how businesses are tracking with their commitments.

In addition to these reporting responsibilities, EOWA provides assistance, guidance and resources to businesses to help them with their equal opportunity programs.

Minister Ellis said she was pleased to see that the vast majority of reporting organisations remain compliant with the legislation.

“More than 2500 organisations have been found to be compliant and 95 of those have received the prestigious citation of EOWA Employer of Choice for Women,” Ms Ellis said.

“These organisations are an example to other Australian businesses and show the benefits of creating equitable workplaces, where women are supported and valued employees.”

The Australian Government has made important advances in achieving fairness for women in the workplace.
The Government got rid of WorkChoices and abolished AWAs, which had a particularly harsh impact on women.

The Australian Government is also delivering the country’s first ever national Paid Parental Leave scheme, which will make it easier for women to move in and out of the workforce when they have children.

The Australian Government is supporting gender equality and workplace flexibility by improving the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace and Agency and its underlying legislation.

“In August 2010 the Government committed to strengthening EOWA’s responsibilities to remain vigilant against workplace discrimination against women,” Ms Ellis said.

“We will also streamline the reporting requirements under the Act, in order to reduce costs to businesses, while making reporting criteria more meaningful.”

Organisations which are found to be non-compliant with the Act are prohibited from trading with the Federal Government and some State and Territory Governments. Organisations are also ineligible for certain industry assistance programs.

Information on the Annual Compliance Reporting process can be found on EOWA’s website.