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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 23 September 2010) . . Page.. 4470 ..

government reported back to the Assembly in the June sitting period on the measures that it would take to progress gender pay equity. These measures included phasing in an approach for examining and identifying pay equity issues between male and female employees in the ACT public service.

The first step in commencing this staged approach was a commitment from the Commissioner for Public Administration to enhance the ACT public service workforce profile and provide this information to the Assembly by October 2010. I am pleased to announce that the work is now complete, and that the Commissioner for Public Administration has recently released the supplementary gender analysis of the ACT public service workforce for 2008-09. That report is available online; I have tabled that document today. Before I go any further, I would like to acknowledge that the Western Australian government’s Department of Commerce audit tool assisted in the development of the methodology for the analysis.

The supplementary gender analysis expands on the ACT public service workforce profile for 2008-09 by providing a more in-depth gendered analysis by employment type, age profile, length of service and remuneration. It should be noted that the data in this report is now 12 months old. It provides observations based on the gender pay gaps identified in agencies and classification groups.

There are a number of classifications within the ACT public service, and classifications have been grouped to assist with the analysis. By taking this approach, we are seeking to identify where the gender equity issues may be and whether the issues lie in more than one agency or in a particular classification group.

In summary, observations from the analysis revealed that as at June 2009 the gender pay gap in the ACT public service was 5.5 per cent. This means that, on average, for every dollar earned by male employees in the ACT public service, females earned 94.5c. The analysis also noted that the ACT workforce gender pay gap as measured by the Australian Bureau of Statistics was 11 per cent, compared to the national average workforce pay gap of 16.9 per cent. However, caution must be exercised in comparing these figures, as the methodologies used vary somewhat.

The report revealed a diminishing gap between the length of service of female and male employees across generations and also noted that variations in the percentage of male and female employees could be impacting significantly on the gender pay gap calculations in agencies with a small workforce. The report will enable the gender pay gap of 5.5 per cent in the ACT public service to be further analysed by agency and classification group, allowing for strategies to be developed to improve pay equity.

The classification group with the highest gender pay gap is within the dentist-dental classification group in ACT Health. In this cohort a high percentage of female employees earned, on average, less than male employees. This group is also predominantly female, at 86 per cent, in comparison to 14 per cent for males. The analysis revealed that the pay inequity appeared to be due to a high number of female dental assistants.

In contrast, the gender pay analysis revealed that in my department there is a negative difference between the salaries of female and male employees—minus 3.4 per cent.

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