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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 7 December 2010) . . Page.. 5864 ..

under which they are hoping to be able to have 22 extra seats added that would be for women. Unfortunately, that was due to be debated a few months ago, I understand, but the Speaker shut down the house before there was a chance for that to be debated and, hopefully, passed. There is still a positive feeling that it will get through. I certainly hope it does, because it is countries such as Papua New Guinea where we do need to ensure that women’s rights are upheld. (Time expired.)

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (3.57): I thank Ms Porter for highlighting how the government supports and values women here in the ACT. I thank Ms Hunter and you, Madam Assistant Speaker Dunne, for your contributions.

As Minister for Women, I have had the pleasure of working closely with the Office for Women and meeting the recipients of some of the grants. Let me say that this has been a very rewarding experience. It is amazing what a difference $1,000 or $2,000 or $3,000 can make in a person’s life, and I would like to commend the officials from the office behind these grants who work closely with the recipients to get the best outcomes for them.

I would like to speak about some of the other work that the government has done and is doing to further support women in our community. The ACT government has a vision for women and girls to realise their potential, to be recognised for their contribution and to share in the benefits of our community. The development of a second ACT women’s plan attests to the government’s commitment to value and invest in women and girls and to promote and safeguard their freedoms and rights to actively participate in all areas of ACT life.

The 2010-15 women’s plan, which I launched in March of this year, continues the work of the previous plan and provides a framework to address the still significant inequalities between men and women in the ACT and between different groups of women. The women’s plan is supported by principles aligned with human rights and linked to the Canberra plan, which promotes Canberra as an inclusive, creative and sustainable centre of economic growth and innovation. Together, these plans support women and girls to contribute and share in the economic, social and environmental aspects of Canberra life.

Earlier this year, I tabled in the Assembly the supplementary gender analysis of the Commissioner for Public Administration for the ACT public service workforce profile. This valuable piece of work will provide the foundation for further work around the pay equity gap in the ACT public service, and I commend the efforts of Ms Hunter in bringing this matter to the Assembly earlier in the year.

Key observations of the commissioner’s report include the following. As at June 2009, the gender pay gap for the ACT public service workforce was 5.5 per cent. That means that, on average, for every dollar earned by a male employee in the ACT public service, females earned 94.5c. The national pay gap as measured by the ABS was 16.9 per cent in May of last year and 17.2 per cent in August. The ACT gender pay gap as measured by the ABS was 11 per cent in May and 11.4 per cent in August of last year.

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