Release type: Joint Media Release


A fair go for women in the workforce


The Hon Julie Collins MP
Minister for the Status of Women
Minister for Community Services, Indigenous Employment and Economic Development

The Gillard Government has today tabled its response to a House of Representatives Committee report on pay equity and boosting female workforce participation.

The Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, said that the Standing Committee on Employment and Workplace Relations’ inquiry examined why women were at a disadvantage when it comes to participation in the workforce.

“The Gillard Government is determined to improve women’s economic security and this begins with fair and equitable treatment in the workplace,” Ms Collins said.

“The Making it fair report suggests possible legislative and administrative reforms to improve pay equity between women and men, and outlines a strategy to achieve this.

“Our response addresses and supports many of the report’s recommendations and outlines the work this Labor Government has already done to remove barriers and increase female workforce participation.

“Under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, for example, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency now has an enhanced role in working with business, industry and professional associations to provide resources including pay equity tools, advice and support to achieve gender equality in workplaces.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Workplace Relations, Senator Jacinta Collins, said the Government had introduced major reforms, such as the first successful equal remuneration case under the Fair Work Act for social and community services workers and Paid Parental Leave.

“The Government has introduced practical initiatives to support women and men balance paid work and caring and make progress towards gender equality,” Senator Collins said.

“Significantly, the Government has removed barriers to equal remuneration consideration claims under federal workplace relations law, making possible the first successful equal pay claim under the federal system.”

On 19 March 2013 the Gillard Government committed $6.2 million to establish a specialist Pay Equity Unit within the Fair Work Commission, which is due to start work on 1 July, 2013.

“The new unit will undertake research and data collection to inform matters related to pay equity under the Fair Work Act, modern award reviews and annual minimum wage decisions,” Senator Collins said.

“The Government’s workplace relations reforms are promoting pay equity and are helping women balance work and family responsibilities.

“Our response to the report documents these significant achievements and ensures we have a strong framework for real gains towards increasing women’s participation in the workforce and achieving pay equity.”