New cop for gender laws
Victoria is appointing its first gender equality commissioner.
South Australian Equal Opportunity Commissioner Niki Vincent will move to Victoria to help enforce equal opportunity laws across the state's 380,000-person public sector workforce.
Dr Vincent is tasked with ensuring Victoria’s 300 public service employers comply with laws in the Gender Equality Act 2020, including meeting gender targets.
Councils, universities and TAFEs, Victoria Police and Court Services Victoria and the Office of Public Prosecutions are among the major employers that must actively pursue gender targets, reduce sexual harassment and work to close the gender pay gap.
The act also covers workers in higher education, nursing, teaching and emergency services.
The laws mean any policy, program or service seeking funding in Victorian budgets must submit to “gendered analysis”.
Should employers fail to show they are improving gender equality, Dr Vincent can issue compliance notices or bring the matter to VCAT for review and enforcement.
Dr Vincent hopes other states will be inspired to improve gender equality.
“By requiring public sector organisations to demonstrate meaningful progress towards gender equality, the Gender Equality Act will inspire and influence action across all Victorian sectors and communities around the country,” she told reporters.