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Pioneering gender equality policy recognised by National Awards

Pioneering gender equality policy recognised by National Awards

Monday 24 October 2022

Bass Coast Shire Council has been recognised for our sector-leading work closing the gender pay gap, via an Honourable Mention at the prestigious 2022 National Awards for Local Government.

In acknowledgement of our equal parental leave initiatives, the timing of the prize is powerful. Under the category Addressing Violence Against Women, it was granted the same day the federal government’s new National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children was announced.

In September 2021 Bass Coast Shire Council implemented new parental leave initiatives for its team members that were a series of firsts for the local government sector:

  • We removed the terms primary and secondary carers - meaning ALL new parents are entitled to the same parental leave
  • Increased paid parental leave from 14 weeks to 16 weeks for both parents.
  • Superannuation contributions will continue to be made on the unpaid component of 12 months parental leave

Bass Coast Shire Council Chief Executive, Ali Wastie, said:

“The recognition from peers for our pioneering parental leave policies is fantastic, and testament to the continuing sector-leadership of the team at Bass Coast Shire Council. I am especially proud to witness how our work addressing the gender pay gap last year is influencing national policy today – helping end family violence within a generation.

“More paid parental leave time for both parents has huge advantages – for families and our wider society. Gender norms are shifting. We’re facilitating this by making it possible for mothers to return to the workforce sooner, while fathers can take on greater caring responsibilities within the home.

“There is a significant correlation between the gender pay gap and parental leave. Providing everyone with equal access to parental leave will reduce the disparity. Both partners can be empowered with increased employment accessibility or afforded more time with their children at this crucial stage. We are also reducing superannuation inequality. After only a year, Bass Coast Shire Council has already seen strengthening within our own community plus huge benefit to our team members and their families.

“Our local action decisively contributes to the national ambition to nurture healthy masculinities and build positive relationships. Together, we can create huge change.”

Winners and honourable mentions spanning eleven categories were announced last night by the Hon Kristy McBain MP, Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories.

With an exceptional high standard across 140 entries, competition for the public vote was strong. The National Awards for Local Government commended all entries for their outstanding projects and the positive outcomes achieved in their communities.