Page 1015 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 19 March 2013

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the territory. I anticipate that the initial steps, in the form of legislative change to the relevant acts, including the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act, will take place this year.

Social inclusion and the development of strong, diverse communities are key priorities of this government. The territory is proudly a human rights jurisdiction, and the government is committed to strengthening human rights protections for all in the community, but most especially for those most at risk of discrimination and stigma.

The preamble of the Human Rights Act 2004 states:

Human rights are necessary for individuals to live lives of dignity and value.

The act also protects the rights of each person in the ACT to equality before the law and freedom from discrimination. Legal recognition of sex and gender diverse people in the ACT will support this fundamental human right. I commend the Law Reform Advisory Council’s report to the Assembly, along with the government’s response.

Leave of absence

Motion (by Mr Hanson) agreed to:

That leave of absence for this sitting week be granted to Mr Coe, for personal reasons, and for Mrs Dunne, who is attending a CPA meeting overseas.

Women—independence and financial security

Ministerial statement

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Disability, Children and Young People, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Women, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (11.44), by leave: Over the last two years as Minister for Women I have provided a statement on ACT women’s economic and financial progress to the Assembly. Economic empowerment is an important measure in the pursuit of gender equality, and this is why I wish to continue to update the Assembly on the progress this government is making to support women's economic and financial independence.

Our government is committed to embedding an understanding of the different needs of women into policy and practice as a mechanism for improving gender equity. Canberra women contribute a lot to our community. According to the 2011 census women in the ACT make up just over half of the population, with one in four born overseas and one in five speaking a language other than English.

We are an ageing population. Over 10 per cent of the female population in the ACT is aged 65 and over, and the median age of ACT women has increased significantly over the past 20 years from 29.9 years in 1991 to 35.4 years in 2011.

Women in the ACT have a high level of workforce participation. As at November of last year, 64 per cent of women were participating in the workforce compared to the

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