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International women's day 1991 initiatives for women

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NEWS RELEASE The Hon Wendy Fatin MR Minister for Local Government

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women



The following is a detailed list of initiatives which will be announced by the Prime Minister in Brisbane today.



The issue of child abuse in our society and the need for preventative measures emerged as priority concerns during the consultations on the National Agenda for Women.

A total of $1.2 million has been allocated for the next three financial years to 1993-94 for the establishment of a National Child Protection Council. The Council will complement the community education program on child abuse and family counselling program announced in the Government's response to the Report of the National Committee on Violence. It will co-operate and

liaise with each State/Territory Government on its child protection program, including training, legal reform service development and protection.

There is currently no co-ordinated national strategy to pursue issues associated with child protection such as uniform legislation.

The Council will work to focus all levels of Government and the community on the need to reduce the incidence of violence against children, and to assist in the development of strategies to do so.


A Prime Ministerial award to encourage women's participation in sport will be established. Potential categories are:

. media coverage . initiatives of school/education programs . local initiatives ·

. support for women with special needs

One hundred thousand dollars has been allocated each year for the next three financial years to 1993-94 for awards which will aim


to raise the profile of, and demonstrate support for, women's sport.

This initiative addresses the National Agenda Action Plan to develop policies and co-ordinate activities which will assist in reducing barriers to the involvement of women in sport, including coverage of women's sport in the media; and to assist sporting bodies concerned with women's sport to develop media liaison, marketing and sponsorships skills.

The Women and Sport Promotion Awards will be administered by the Department of Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories.


The allocation of a total of half a million dollars over the next three financial years will allow the term of the Commonwealth/State Council on Non-English Speaking Background

Women's Issues to be extended for three years to mid 1994.

Extending the life of the Council will enable it to complete the valuable work it is doing and to address other issues of concern to women of non-English speaking backgrounds. In particular, it

allows approaches in consultation which are culturally and linguistically appropriate and assists in the promotion of an environment in which women from non-English speaking backgrounds have an equal share in community resources and equal access to programs and services.

The Council reports annually to the Prime Minister and to the Annual Conference of Commonwealth/State/Territory Ministers for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. The Council first met in November 1989 and has set in train major projects covering, health, languages services and legal issues.

The Council will continue to be administered by the Office of the Status of Women in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.


The Statement will be used for input into domestic and international discussions on women, development and the environment, including the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. This Statement will draw on consultations with women to be undertaken by the National Women's

Consultative Council with regard to development and environment issues as they impact on women.

The Statement will be co-ordinated by the Office of the Status of Women in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet at a total cost of $150 000 for the next three financial years to 1993-94.


1. National Strategy on Violence Against Women

The recently formed National Committee on Violence Against Women will develop a comprehensive national strategy to reduce the incidence of violence and murder against women and to identify

the assistance needed by victims of violence. The Strategy will define goals and desired outcomes through the identification of Commonwealth and State responsibilities, and will pursue appropriate policy action.

2. Appointment of Women to Government Bodies

In keeping with the National Agenda objectives of striving towards equal representation of men and women on government boards, committees and authorities, the Office of the Status of Women has developed the new APPOINT computer system of monitoring

appointment to statutory and non-statutory positions.

The system has been designed to enable government departments to co-ordinate information on Commonwealth bodies and on people appointed to them. It also enables retrieval of EEC statistical data on these appointments and will act as a flag in areas where women are under-represented.

3. Pacific CEDAW Seminar

The United Nations and the Governments of Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands are sponsoring a seminar on the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which will be held in the Cook Islands

later this month.

The seminar will be attended by participants from the 13 developing South Pacific Forum Island states, plus representatives from the UN, Australia and New Zealand and observers from UN bodies, regional inter-governmental organisations and non-governmental organisations.

4. National Statistical Profile on Women

A comprehensive statistical profile on women, to be part of the ABS Social Report Series, is to be released in 1991. The Report will provide a comprehensive, statistical data base on

Australian women which brings together data from ABS and non-ABS sources, to provide a statistical profile of women and to examine changes in this profile over the study period.

5. National Strategy on Implementation of ILO Convention 156

The Minister for Industrial Relations is developing a Commonwealth implementation strategy for ILO 156. The strategy will be presented next year as part of a major Ministerial statement on Government policy for workers with family

responsibilities. This is expected to be a wide ranging statement addressing matters across a number of portfolios. In developing the strategy, the need to amend our anti­ discrimination legislation to give effect to the Convention will also be investigated.

6. Monitoring of Training Levy

The Department of Employment, Education and Training is working with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to commence work on an enhanced version of the survey "How Workers Get Their Training".

The Survey will provide a means of monitoring the equity implications of industry training behaviour as undertaken by the Minister for Employment Education and Training in his second reading speech on the Training Guarantee Act in 1990.

7. Inquiry into possible Sex Discrimination within Over Award Payments

The Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner will undertake an inquiry into possible sex discrimination in over award payments. On average women earn less than half the over award payments of men, and inequitable access to over award payments constitutes a

significant part of the 17% gap between male and female average weekly ordinary time earnings.

The inquiry will examine whether there have been inequities in access to over award payments.

8. Support for Refugee Women

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has decided that the focus for its 40th Anniversary year, 1991, will be Refugee Women.

Australia in 1989 introduced a program for women at risk as part of our resettlement program. Grant funds have been made available through the Refugee Council of Australia to provide settlement assistance to at-risk refugee women, and the Bureau of

Immigration Research has also allocated funds to undertake a survey of the needs of refugee women in Australia. The results will be presented at an international conference to be held in Sydney in June, coinciding with Refugee Week which will focus on

the theme of refugee women.