Page 944 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 22 March 2017
demonstrated by our active participation in a number of local and international events that promote women’s rights.
We recognise the need for government, private business, NGOs and the broader community to work together against inequality. So we have developed the women’s plan and the first action plan which set out how we can work in partnership to take targeted and practical steps towards equality. We recognise the impact that family violence has on women’s wellbeing, social participation and work. We have established the safer families program to strengthen the government’s holistic response to family violence.
We recognise how important women’s sport is to promote community empowerment and health. We are supporting many programs that encourage women to get involved in sport, create pathways to elite level playing, and to ensure that women are better represented on sports boards.
We are also working to ensure women are provided with appropriate facilities for work and training that cater to their particular needs. Carers rooms are provided in all major ACT public service workplaces. There may also be dedicated areas for nursing mothers and, where there are smaller tenancies, an appropriate facility is identified within the local precinct. Carers rooms are separate from first-aid rooms but are multipurpose, including for breastfeeding and expressing if there is not a separate facility for these purposes. We recognise the importance of privacy for nursing mothers and for carers and, as a minimum, there should be clear signage indicating whether or not the room is in use.
As existing facilities are refurbished and new facilities are fitted out, locks for carers rooms and nursing rooms are being considered, subject to risk assessments to determine the security and privacy provisions for users. Further to this, a review is underway to go about fitting locks to existing facilities.
We also know that women are unfairly impacted by the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers. That is why we made a submission to the federal government against this misguided decision and continue to advocate against it. Unfortunately, the opposition today and yesterday still seem not to be able to comprehend the impact that this decision will have on many women in Canberra who are working to make ends meet. Ms Le Couteur flagged before that in the Assembly we sometimes do not concentrate on the real, practical issues. I can assure those in this Assembly that the pay gap is a real, practical issue that has practical ramifications for women in the ACT and across the country.
Even if we were to adjust for the demands of motherhood and for part-time work, we still have a pay gap. Men are paid more for no reason other than being male. As a case in point—to finish—a USA study found that, as the proportion of male nurses increased in the USA, a gender pay gap actually emerged. By 2011, female nurses were earning 16 per cent less than their male colleagues.
We still have a long way to go to achieve gender equality, but ACT Labor recognises the issues, and we are not resting. We will continue to act to promote gender equality.