Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Gender Equality Bill 2019

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (11:11): I would like to briefly speak on the Gender Equality Bill 2019. Equality has long been a central value of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party; equality is an extension of justice. This bill will impact roughly 96 per cent of Victorian public sector employees and nearly 11 per cent of the total Victorian workforce. It is a sizable bill which sets out to achieve a number of things, not the least greater workplace equality. While Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party supports this bill, we do so in the hope that merit and relevant experience will continue to be the key determinants in whether or not someone is suited to a particular job. In rural and regional Victoria there is a shortage of workers across a range of sectors, particularly in health and education. These jobs should be filled by those most willing and able who not only reside within the community but also those willing to move to our regions and support our essential services. However, I do fear that the reporting requirements which are set out in this bill may influence some employment decisions. When the minister is preparing the gender equality action plan every four years, I do hope that any skill or labour shortages in rural and regional Victoria are considered. Further to this some constituents have raised with me questions about how the implementation of support and monitoring of public servants will be undertaken. Given the bill commences on 31 March 2021, I hope that the government is able to map out the logistics of employee reporting requirements and so on in order to put at ease public concern. While there is still work to be done after the passage of this bill, I am hopeful that it will address the obvious need for greater equality in our state’s workforce. Given our state is benefiting from a low unemployment rate and the creation of new industries, I am glad to be supporting this bill which pursues greater equality when there is opportunity to do so.


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