The Equal Workplaces Advisory Council

The Equal Workplaces Advisory Council has been established to promote gender equality in Victorian workplaces. The council will report to and advise the Hon Natalie Hutchins MP, Minister for Women, Prevention of Family Violence and Industrial Relations - about initiatives that will tackle the gap in women's pay and workforce participation, including gendered occupational segregation.

The council is a key founding reform of the Victorian Government's Gender Equality Strategy in recognition that private and public sector workplaces are key settings to drive women's economic security and independence.

The Women@Work Conference

The highly successful Women@Work conference, held before Easter, was attended by more than 250 representatives of Victorian businesses and organisations.

Staged at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image at Federation Square, the conference was a call to action for industry to pursue plans to actively reduce the gender pay gap in their organisations.

A major initiative of the Hon Natalie Hutchins MP, Minister for Women, Prevention of Family Violence and Industrial Relations - Industrial Relations Victoria, the Equal Workplaces Advisory Council and the Office for Prevention and Women's Equality, the conference engaged businesses, influencers and decision makers to champion gender equity and equal pay in the workplace.

The conference provided practical tools for businesses and organisations to enable them to boost workplace equality and featured experts who explained the gender pay gap and demonstrated a business case for its closure.

The conference also heard from a series of women and men about their experiences of the gender pay gap and ways to meet the challenge.

A series of organisations signed pledges to initiate action plans to alleviate the gap in their workplaces.

Conference guest speakers were:

  • Martine Harte, Director, Engaging Women
  • Liberty Sanger, Chair of the Equal Workplaces Advisory Council and Principal, Board Member and Practice Group Leader at Maurice Blackburn
  • Julie Lander, CEO CareSuper
  • Pia Cerveri, Women's and Equality Co-Lead Organiser, Victorian Trades Hall Council
  • Santilla Chingaipe, Journalist/Filmmaker
  • Jackie Woods, Engagement Executive Manager, Workplace Gender Equality Agency
  • Chyloe Kurdas, AFL Commentator, former director National Female Academy AFL, Diversity Consultant
  • Anne Koopmann, Head of Quality Australia
  • Helen Karatasas, Education Delivery Manager,Workplace Gender Equality Agency
  • Nicola Street, National Manager – Workplace Relations Policy, Australian Industry Group
  • Tanya Smith, Principal Nous Group
  • Virginia Matthews, Director Culture and Organisational Development, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Jeremy Dixon, Branch Manager, People and Resilience, Wannon Water
  • Catherine Dixon, Director, Commissioner's Office, Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission
  • Justine Vaisutis, Head of Education and Engagement, Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission
  • Jodi Peskett, Women's Co-Lead Organiser, Victorian Trades Hall Council
  • Fiona Vines, Global Head, Inclusion & Diversity, BHP
  • Julie Toth, Chief Economist, Australian Industry Group
  • Jeff Borland, Academic Economist, The University of Melbourne

Organisations who signed pledges on the day to initiate action plans to reduce the gap in their workplaces were

  • Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • Department of Justice and Regulation
  • The Victoria Police
  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Department of Education and Training
  • Department of Treasury and Finance
  • Industrial Relations Victoria
  • Emergency Services and State Superannuation Board
  • Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
  • Energy Australia
  • Deakin University
  • Westpac
  • CoINVEST
  • Wodonga Council
  • Girl Geek Academy
  • Property Promotions.Com
  • Auspicious Arts Projects
  • Eastern Domestic Violence Service
  • Uniting
  • HESTA
  • Yarra Valley Water
  • OAM, Youth Projects
  • La Concierge Pty Ltd
  • QEC

Council chair and members

The council is chaired by Liberty Sanger, National Practice Group Leader at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and one of Victoria's most respected workplace lawyers.

In addition to the chair, the members of the council are:

  • Andrea Carson – Lecturer, University of Melbourne
  • Sara Charlesworth – Professor, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
  • Barbara Cullen – Director, Small Business Victoria, DEDJTR
  • Catherine Dixon – Executive Director, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
  • Emma King – Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Council of Social Services
  • Kathryn McAnalley – Manager, Employment Policy, DEDJTR
  • Katherine Smith – Senior Industry Policy Adviser, Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Kimberly White – Workplace Adviser, Australian Industry Group
  • Ingrid Stitt – Secretary, Australian Services Union
  • Wilhelmina Stracke – Industrial Campaigns Officer, Victorian Trades Hall Council,
  • Lissa Zass – Director, Industrial Relations Victoria, DEDJTR

Page last updated: 13 April 2018