Australian councils employ equality

By Lilia Guan
The Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) said there has been a strong drive for equality in the workplace.
In an interview with Government News, Darriea Turley, national president of ALGWA and councillor at Broken Hill City Council said local councils from Australia were implementing policies to ensure a sustainable workforce.
“We invest and manage our computer systems and assets more then we do our workforce,” she said.
“However councils all over Australia are backing initiatives to make working in local government more attractive for women.
“We need to make local government the employer of choice.”
Cr Turley said some of the interesting policies put in place by councils to encourage the participation of women included; the introduction of parental leave morning teas, where employees on parental leave are brought back once a month and updated with changes within the organisation.
She said other councils have created women’s advisory committees.
 “Councils that are just looking into creating a sustainable workforce can do interesting things like creating a mentoring program,” Cr Turley said.
“Women in junior or mid-level positions could shadow a senior employee and learn about management.”
Cr Turley said ALGWA received about 90 responses from councils all across Australia, for nomination within its bronze awards in the ALGWA 50:50 Vision Councils for Gender Equity Program.
About 22 councils from across Australia have been awarded a bronze award, she said.
One of the councils receiving an award was the City of Ballarat, Victoria.
The Council’s executive manager of organisation services and development, Garry Davis, said this year the council reviewed several human resources policies to ensure current practices offered fair treatment, equal opportunity and flexible work practices.
“During the policy review process we consulted with the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission to ensure we were incorporating all relevant best practices,” Mr Davis said.
“We then engaged the VEO to deliver the policy communication to the whole organisation.
“We are also delivering a series of communication and education sessions aimed at staff with various family and carer responsibilities in an effort to support then in balancing work with those responsibilities.”
Mr Davis’ said the Council’s status as a public entity meant the council had to make sure it took a ‘leadership role’ in ensuring equality in the workforce.

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