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Law Council of Australia


Workplace Gender Equality Amendment Bill 2023

6 March 2023

On 6 March 2023 the Law Council made a submission to the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee in response to its inquiry into the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment Bill 2023 (the Bill).

The Bill seeks to amend the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Cth) (Act).

The Act relevantly:

The Bill responds in part to the recommendations of a Review into the Act conducted in 2021 by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, to which the Law Council made a submission. The Review Report concluded that the gender pay gap in Australia was not closing at a fast enough rate and made ten recommendations to accelerate the rate of change on workplace gender inequality and reduce the reporting burden on employers.  

In its submission to the inquiry, the Law Council focused on the implementation of the Review recommendations which specifically related to, or resulted in, amendments to the Act. While the Law Council broadly supported the amendments proposed by the Bill, it, amongst other things:

On 16 March 2023 Committee produced its report on the Bill, which contained a single recommendation that the Bill be passed.

The report notes concerns raised in submissions that ‘the bill does not go far enough, and that it does not address all the recommendations of the Review’.

It noted in particular that recommended amendments to legislative instruments directed to bridging the ‘action gap’ between the existence of workplace policies to support gender equality and showing the outcomes of those policies, with new gender equality standards, had not been fully implemented.

The report advises that the Committee had received ‘assurances from the Office for Women that further progress will be made by the government’ in relation to implementing the outstanding Review recommendations.



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