Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

Awards for the advancement of women at work

Organisations supporting work environments that value and develop women’s participation in the workforce were recognised today, at the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency’s Business Achievement Awards held in Melbourne.

“These awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the remarkable achievements of women in business today, and of those organisations that support them,” the Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis said.

“Recent research has told us that companies with more women in their top management are out-performing companies with no women executives.”

Ms Ellis announced Shine Lawyers as the winner of the Minister’s Award for a strategic initiative or outstanding result in equal opportunity in the workplace.

“The winner of the Minister’s Award, Shine Lawyers, and the other finalists recognised by these awards, understand that equality and diversity in the workplace is essential for businesses to thrive,” Ms Ellis said.

Shine Lawyers is a Toowoomba-based law firm with a reputation for taking on tough cases, which has led international human rights advocate Erin Brockovich to enter into a formal partnership with the firm.

Shine Lawyers won the Minister’s Award for their Parental Support Scheme that sets a new benchmark for employee support, including an additional 20% of an employee’s base salary in childcare costs, 18 weeks of paid maternity leave and flexible working arrangements.

In the first seven months of the scheme, all women employees on maternity leave have returned to the firm, including two women who have since been promoted to senior management roles.

“I am delighted to see organisations creating supports that complement the Australian Government’s introduction of the Paid Parental Leave Scheme next year,” Ms Ellis said.

“But with women still only making up 8.4% of board positions and 8% of Executive Key Management Personnel in the ASX200, equality in Australian workplaces still has a long way to go.

“The organisations acknowledged at today’s awards are working hard to address inequity and give women the opportunity to participate and succeed, and I congratulate them on their achievements.”

Mount Isa Group Apprentices’ (MIGATE) Yallambee Project was also given a special mention by the judges, for their project to train and employ Indigenous community women at the Yallambee Aboriginal Reserve in a nationally recognised Certificate III in Childcare.

The EOWA Business Achievement Awards is the premier awards event recognising organisations for the advancement of women. For more information, visit Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency website