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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 March 2017) . . Page.. 940 ..

All areas of ACT government are committed to contributing to the advancement of gender equality in the ACT. The first women’s action plan sets out how each area of government will contribute to advancing gender equality and improving health and wellbeing outcomes for women and girls. Work in this area will include the establishment of a gender equity and education advisory group. To drive work in this area we are boosting funding to women’s sports initiatives, we are developing gender impact statements for use across directorates, we will look at our procurement strategies with a view to ensuring companies who receive money from the ACT government have sound gender equity policies and practices.

The plan also sets out priorities in the area of better addressing women’s health needs. Research will be conducted to identify emerging mental health issues for women and girls in the ACT. Recent research by Resilient Youth Australia has found that 25 per cent of girls and 21 per cent of boys feel anxious and under strain. Alarmingly, these levels shoot up to 69 per cent of girls in year 12. nearly double the rate of boys, at 36 per cent. We need to make a difference for young women in the ACT.

There will be a particular emphasis on understanding and meeting the diverse nature of women’s needs and circumstances and the way factors of discrimination can multiply to create particular disadvantage for women. We need to take measures to counter this disadvantage. It is unacceptable in our city, where opportunities are available to many, that some women experience multiple and debilitating barriers.

We will work to increase the extent to which all women across the community can share these gains equally. We will host forums at least twice a year to ensure that we are heading in the right direction and to incorporate many perspectives into the planning and implementation of new programs. Activities to address gender-specific health, wellbeing and safety needs of women from diverse backgrounds will be undertaken, including the creation of targeted health promotion resources.

The ACT is leading the way in many indicators of gender equality. The ACT government will work with determination to translate our accomplishments in the area of gender equality to create a city in which violence against women is not tolerated and in which all women in the ACT are able to access opportunities equally.

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (6.05): I am pleased to support this important motion and I thank Ms Cheyne for moving it in the Assembly today. Since the last sitting of the Assembly I, along with many of my colleagues, celebrated International Women’s Day. Each year, the day provides us with a chance to celebrate goals attained and victories won, but it also gives us an opportunity to review and evaluate what remains to be done for women in our society.

I would specifically like to highlight the economic disadvantage women face across Australia and here in the ACT. I note that there are many different kinds of families in our community. Same-sex couples, single parents, carers and extended families all create safe environments for their loved ones, with and without children. The family I grew up in, which fostered many children, is a testament to the diversity a family can take.

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