Page 1537 - Week 04 - Thursday, 29 March 2012

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together to ensure that women are equal partners with men in all aspects of economic, political and social life and that women are able to work and have a family and, importantly, that women are free to live their lives without discrimination, harassment and violence.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Leader, ACT Greens), by leave: I would like to thank the minister for making this statement today responding to my motion from 2010 which called on her to provide an annual statement to the Assembly that outlines efforts in improving the economic and financial independence for women.

The minister notes that the ACT is doing well in the statistics for female labour force participation and average full-time weekly earnings in comparison to the rest of the country. I am pleased that this is the case but I, like the minister, note that there is still a way to go to close the pay equity gap between men and women. The recent Fair Work decision will go some way to addressing pay equity for the largely female community sector workforce in the ACT. I am glad that the minister has restated her commitment to support the sector to implement this decision in the ACT and I will be watching with interest the government’s work on this to ensure the sector gains the benefits intended by that decision.

I would like to pass on my congratulations to the women mentioned in the statement. There is no doubt that the grants and programs run by both the government and the community engage and encourage women and girls to achieve their goals. The linkages between the government and the community organisations and the private sector which facilitate and assist in these programs are key to providing networks and support that will see these women and their endeavours continue into the long term.

I also would like to note that the education programs being run through our education providers, ACT schools, CIT and our universities, are all offering programs to assist women, particularly young women, into fulfilling careers and into areas they may not have usually considered, such as building and construction. I am pleased and proud that the women of the ACT are doing what they love and doing it well.

Though this will be the last statement in this Assembly by the minister on my motion, I urge the government to continue this focus on pay equity and women’s economic participation and to continue to work to increase inclusion, engagement and equity in all areas for ACT women.

English as a second language in schools

Statement by minister

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections), by leave: On 7 December 2011 the Assembly passed a resolution that the government undertake a review of ESL services and report back to the Assembly by April. As there are no April sittings, I would like to advise the Assembly that I intend to circulate the report to members out of session during April 2012 and to table the report during the first sitting period in May 2012.

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