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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2800 ..


Why do men not access flexible work and share the burden as much as women? It is partly a cultural thing. They do not because they never have. That is a consequence of our male breadwinner model of industrial regulation. Our workplaces were historically hostile to flexible work, and that meant a key support was missing for working parents and carers. Because of this hostility many people, including men, do not even ask for flexible work.

That could be one good thing that comes out of COVID—workplaces have been able to see that our workers can be productive at home and men can see the benefit of flexible work which allows them to spend time at home with their families. They can share more of the housework and more of the child care and they can spend more time with loved ones.

That has certainly been the case in my family since I became a politician. My partner has switched to part-time work so that he can look after our daughter, he can do the cooking, and he can take care of our house and garden. It is the only way I could manage this job that I have right now, and it has brought a father and a daughter closer together. Equality really does help everyone.

So let’s pass this motion and collect good data on our employees, but let’s not stop there. We need to change our culture. We need to encourage men to access flexible work and put in workplace policies and a culture that supports them. Let’s make shared housework and shared child care the norm at home. Let’s support women to earn, work and play, as well as caring for their loved ones and doing the housework. That is when we will really start to see the gender pay gap close.

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) (3.32): I thank Ms Orr for her motion and for her commitment to continuously improving the gender pay gap in the ACT public service. This is an important motion, and the government is dedicated to furthering gender equality in our community. The full participation of women and girls in all aspects of society is critical to the wellbeing of our whole community.

As an employer, this government leads by example. We are committed to furthering the cause of gender equality in our workforce. This is demonstrated in a range of activities and initiatives. For example, from 2022-23 it will be a requirement that agencies report on gender action plans and gender impact assessments in their annual reports. Tangible action and transparent reporting are key elements in advancing this goal.

Within the ACTPS, the Office for Women runs the ACT Public Service Women’s Mentoring Program, which was launched in 2019. The second iteration of the program is currently underway. The program contributes to fostering a culture within the ACT public service that values shared knowledge, learning from each other, collaboration and building confidence in women. This program prioritises women from diverse backgrounds. Programs like these are concrete action that the


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