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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1760

Equal Pay

Dear Mrs Wicks

Thank you for your letter to Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash., former Minister for Women, dated 5 December 2017, concerning a petition on the gender pay gap (PN0155).

The petition requests that new legislation be created to ensure equal pay for women and men. I can advise that the Fair Work Act 2009(the Act) formally recognises the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal or comparable value in the setting of minimum terms and conditions, and the Fair Work Commission may make orders to ensure equal remuneration for men and women workers, for work of equal or comparable value. Under the Act and under Commonwealth, State and Territory anti-discrimination legislation, it is also unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person on the basis of gender.

The Australian Government has a range of initiatives in place to address the gender pay gap, including through the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), which seeks to promote and improve gender equality in Australian workplaces. Some relevant initiatives undertaken by WGEA include annual workplace gender reporting, providing resources to assist employers to conduct gender pay gap audits and develop gender pay equity strategies and awareness campaigns and partnership programs including the Pay Equity Ambassador network. Further information about these initiatives is available on WGEA's website at www.wgea.gov.au.

On 6 July 2017, the Government released Towards 2025: An Australian Government Strategy to Boost Women's Workforce Participation (the Strategy). The Strategy details actions the Government is taking to address many of the drivers of pay inequity in Australia, including measures for flexible work, paid parental leave, childhood education, and encouraging women into non-traditional areas such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industries.

These measures are all important to address the gender pay gap, however Government cannot do this alone. We are working towards long term change with employees, employers, communities and families.

I trust this information will be of assistance. Yours sincerely

from the Minister for Women, Ms O'Dwyer