On 26 November 2019, the Bill was introduced to Parliament. The Bill aims to improve workplace gender equality across the Victorian public sector, universities and local councils. It will also lead to better results for the Victorian community through improved policies, programs and services.
Gender equality benefits people of all genders. The Bill aims to level the playing field so that Victorians can have equal rights, opportunities, responsibilities and outcomes.
Which organisations are covered by the Bill?
The Bill will apply to certain organisations that have 50 or more employees, including:
- public service bodies
- public entities
- special bodies (as defined by section 6 of the )
- local government
- Court Services Victoria
- the Office of Public Prosecutions
Over 300 organisations will be covered by the Bill.
What are the key reforms?
The Bill puts the right tools in place to plan, measure and track progress towards gender equality.
Organisations will be required to develop a Gender Equality Action Plan every four years. GEAPs will include strategies for improving gender equality in the workplace.
Organisations will report publicly every two years on their progress.
In certain circumstances, the Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner can take steps to ensure defined entities comply with their obligations under the Bill.
Promoting gender equality in the community
Your gender can affect your needs and experiences. Under the Bill, organisations will be required to consider and promote gender equality in the community. They will do this by thinking about how their work affects Victorians of different genders and making appropriate changes to policies, programs and services.
Making measurable progress towards gender equality by meeting targets and quotas
Targets and quotas are needed because they work.
Organisations will be required to make reasonable progress against any set targets and quotas. Targets and quotas will be set in future regulations and will be tailored to an industry or sector.
An independent body to oversee the Bill
The Bill establishes the Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner.
The Commissioner will:
- promote and advance the objectives of the Bill
- collaborate with organisations to improve gender equality
- monitor progress
- use compliance and enforcement measures if necessary
- publish and share Gender Equality Action Plans and progress reports
If passed, the Gender Equality Act will commence on 31 March 2021. This will give organisations enough time to understand, prepare for and meet their obligations.
The Bill is the result of extensive public and stakeholder consultation, including forums, targeted consultations, the public release of an Exposure Draft of the Bill and a Citizens’ Jury. Visit for more details about our consultation process.
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Reviewed 04 December 2019