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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2797 ..


While the ACT has better reporting compared to other jurisdictions in Australia, we can continue to improve reporting here, increasing the average level of reporting across the country. In my motion I have identified some data gaps which we can begin to fill. There remains a lack of reporting available on the breakdown between directorates. There is also a lack of reporting on the difference in outcomes between executive and non-executive levels.

These details are useful in identifying areas where we can focus on increasing gender equality and equal remuneration. Consequently, I ask that this Assembly call on the government to undertake more detailed reporting on the gender pay gap in the ACT public service; include in this undertaking a breakdown of the gender gap between directorates; and include in this undertaking a breakdown of the gender gap between executive and non-executive levels in the ACT public service. Additionally, my motion calls on the government to work on identifying methods of reporting on gender gaps among employees working either part time or casually, and the experience of women from diverse backgrounds or women living with disability.

I would like to note that I have deliberately left the method of reporting open in my motion. There are a variety of ways to report this data and I have left it to the discretion of the responsible ACT public servants to ensure that the most appropriate method is utilised.

Wage discrimination remains one of the most precise measures of gender inequality that we have. However, gender inequality is multifaceted, and any serious attempts to understand and respond to it by government need to reflect that. By creating an environment in which data is more refined, this motion aids in addressing the gender pay gap. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (3.21): I am pleased to rise to speak to Ms Orr’s motion today, and I thank her for bringing forward this important motion which seeks to recognise the ongoing struggles that women face in being treated equally at work. It is right and proper for this Assembly to note this struggle because these actions are vital to ensure continued progress on this gendered issue. Ms Orr’s motion assists in this quite practically by changing the reporting requirements for the public service by increasing the detail of gender pay gap reporting.

The issue of the gender pay gap is a fight that has been going on for a long time. Since at least the 1970s Australian women have been pushing for the right to equal pay for equal work. While there has been progress, there is still a long way to go. As the motion notes, there has been a reduction in the gap from November 2014, from 18.4 per cent to 14.2 per cent. The situation in the ACT is even slightly better, with the gap being lower, at 7.9 per cent. However, in 2021 women, on average, still have to work an additional two months to make up the gender pay gap.

Just imagine two people doing the same job for pretty much the same length of time—he gets to sit on the beach or by the pool for two months drinking cocktails and reading a book and having a lovely time while she has to continue working to make up the gender pay gap. Any gap is unacceptable. Women work just as hard and deserve to be compensated as such.


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