New gender equity Bill focuses on outcomes

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New gender equity Bill focuses on outcomes

The Federal Government says it is cutting the red tape for businesses in new legislation on gender equality introduced to Parliament this week.

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The Federal Government says it is cutting the red tape for businesses in new legislation on gender equality introduced to Parliament this week.

The Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, said the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill 2012 would improve gender equality outcomes as well as simplify reporting for businesses.

The new system removes the requirement on employers to provide descriptions of their policies and programs. Instead, there will be a focus on outcomes and on improving outcomes over time.

Benchmarks
 
The Act sets out gender equality indicators and allows for minimum standards and performance benchmarks to be developed over time in consultation with industry and experts.

‘The new Act is the result of extensive consultations with industry, employee organisations and the women’s sector,’ Collins said.

‘It will enable employers to measure their own performance against other employers and makes it simpler for them to prepare and lodge reports on their progress.’

‘The Bill gets the balance right between the need to drive and encourage change within business, without increasing the regulatory burden.’

Simplifies
 
‘It cuts red tape — simplifying and streamlining reporting for employers by focusing on the things that really matter.’

Collins said the Bill is aimed at the genuine and sustained removal of barriers to women’s full and equal participation in the workforce.

‘Improving women’s workforce participation is fundamental to closing the gender gap in the workplace and an absolute must if we are to boost Australia’s productive capacity,’ she said.

‘It has been estimated that closing the gap between men’s and women’s workforce participation could increase Gross Domestic Product by 13%,’ Collins said.

The Bill’s introduction follows a review of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999.
 
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