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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 623 ..


(a) the Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces report released in 2020 by the Australian Human Rights Commission showed sexual harassment is both widespread and pervasive in Australian workplaces with two in five women and one in four men experiencing sexual harassment at work in the previous five-year period;

(b) sexual harassment is a societal issue, and all members of society can and must contribute to addressing it;

(c) Australia was once at the forefront of efforts to end sexual harassment in the workplace with the enactment of the Federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984, however, efforts for change have increasingly stalled and the Sex Discrimination Commissioner concluding the legal and regulatory system is no longer fit for purpose;

(d) the Respect@Work findings as well as other advocates are calling for a shift from a reactive model reliant on victims to make a complaint to a positive system which requires employers to create an environment of prevention;

(e) reviews of the model work health and safety (WHS) laws and regulations, including the Boland review, have recommended psychosocial risk definitions and controls be strengthened;

(f) the ACT, through WHS responsibilities, its own workplace management and through its contractual reporting policy has an opportunity to drive this called for change and shift work environments to preventive environments; and

(g) the ACT Legislative Assembly’s WHS Committee is close to finalising a review undertaken over the past year or so that will result in a contemporary “Respect in the Workplace” policy that will not only set out the sorts of behaviour that will not be tolerated but will increase the focus on prevention measures; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to further improve the safety of workers in the ACT by:

(a) amending the notifications section of the WHS Act to include psychosocial hazards, while taking into consideration the privacy and autonomy of workers;

(b) developing regulations under the Act that incorporate psychosocial regulations;

(c) developing a code of practice for psychosocial hazards that enables workplaces to create a prevention focused work environment;

(d) developing as part of the code of practice, guidelines to address gender-based violence including sexual harassment;

(e) consulting with workers and their representatives on the implementation of these changes;

(f) reporting in the State of the Service report, as three separate reporting categories, the number of bullying and harassment, sexual harassment and gender-based violence incidents in the ACT Public Service;


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