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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 633 ..


from both women and men is very understandable, to say the least. I attended several International Women’s Day events where women told me they were glad I was there and willing to listen. This made me want to hear more, so I attended March 4 Justice just over two weeks ago. It was a revelation. Women, and the men who marched alongside them, were calling for an acknowledgement that the status quo is not acceptable and major changes must happen.

I commit to listen, learn, support and work with my colleagues to achieve equality and safety for women in our workplaces and more broadly in our society. From a work health and safety perspective, it is critical that everyone, especially women, is able to fulfil their potential in the workplace in a safe environment where both their physical and mental wellbeing are assured.

The estimated cost of the personal, social and economic impacts of workplace sexual harassment has been estimated by Deloitte Access Economics at $3½ billion in 2018. This includes damage to the personal wellbeing of victims, the use of resources in the health and legal systems, lost productivity for employees and employers, and the delay it causes to career advancement. The flow-on effects beyond this are not yet known.

Ms Orr’s motion calls for amendments to include psychosocial hazards in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. This must be a priority and must involve proper consultation with a range of stakeholders. Additionally, the clarity and rigour called for in clause 2(j) of the motion should apply equally to any amendments made to the act, so that psychosocial hazards are well understood and able to be addressed by everyone in the workplace.

I am in favour of stronger reporting requirements for the ACT public service as a way for the ACT to take a lead on transparency on this issue. The same requirements for providers of goods and services should apply, and there should be close consultation with industry to ensure that they are clear and easy to comply with.

The enormous cost of sexual harassment in the workplace is holding us back as a society. As shadow minister for jobs and workplace affairs, I am committed to supporting measures to eliminate it. There is a lot of work to do. The past month has demonstrated a demand for change across Australia. I believe that we must lead the way in the ACT. I support Ms Orr’s motion.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.15): I thank Ms Orr for bringing this important motion to the Assembly today. I stand here today to listen but also ready to take action. Those of us that are here are in a privileged position, and it is incumbent upon us to take the responsibility for protecting women and their right to be safe. This is what leadership is. We do not need a “Prime Minister for Women”; we need accountability and we need action.

This motion concerns sexual harassment in the workplace. But sexual harassment happens everywhere, every day, in homes, in schools, in workplaces, in public and


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