Page 1533 - Week 04 - Thursday, 29 March 2012

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The resolution stipulated that the report be completed and provided to the Assembly by the end of September last year. Following a request by the commissioner for an extension of time, the Assembly agreed to a new reporting date of the end of March this year. I have recently received correspondence from the commissioner seeking agreement to further extend the date by which the report will be provided to the Assembly. I propose this date to be the last sitting day of May this year. The commissioner advises me that he has obtained community input and engaged reference and advisory groups for their analysis and input on the recreational and environmental values of the lake. He is seeking an extension of time to enable his report to be reviewed and finalised for quality and correctness, and for printing purposes.

The Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment has actively pursued this investigation and has sought to apply appropriate rigour to the analysis and the resulting recommendations. This brief extension will enhance the quality and strength of the report and the confidence in its outcomes. I ask the Assembly to support this motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Gender pay equity

Statement by minister

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Community Services, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Women and Minister for Gaming and Racing), by leave: I seek to provide the Assembly with a statement on the progress towards improving women’s economic and financial independence. This statement arises from the resolution of the Assembly on 24 February 2010 moved by Ms Hunter.

The ACT is a community where women have made significant gains in achieving gender equity. Overall, women in the ACT are well educated and well paid. This is reflected in the strong female labour force participation rate in the ACT, which is at 65.1 per cent, which is the highest nationally. The ACT also has the highest female average full-time weekly earnings of any jurisdiction, at $1,435 per week, an increase of 4.9 per cent on the previous year.

Paid work gives women the opportunity to ensure their own financial security, contribute to the family budget and secure their economic future into retirement. However, the gender pay gap is still a persistent problem and has serious financial implications for women, particularly in relation to their retirement savings. From the beginning of their careers until retirement, women shoulder a heavier burden in relation to caring responsibilities and women are 2½ times more likely to be living in poverty in their old age than men. In the quarter ending November 2011, the national gender pay gap stood at 17.6 per cent. However, in the ACT, we continue to have a relatively low gender pay gap, with women earning 11.8 per cent less than men.

I am proud to report that the recently released ACT public service workforce profile 2010-2011 shows that the gender pay gap in the ACT public service has decreased

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