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Council committed to gender equality and diversity

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A new gender equality and diversity plan will support Surf Coast Shire Council’s goal to foster a thriving, connected, healthy community.

At its July meeting, Council noted the Gender Equality and Diversity Action Plan (GEDAP) 2021-25 – an organisational plan that will help Council to continue building a workplace which encourages and supports equity and fairness and eliminates all forms of discrimination, harassment and bullying.

Councillor Liz Pattison said while the plan had an internal focus, it underpinned Council’s goal to foster a thriving, connected and healthy community.

“There are four gender and diversity goals in the plan which are going to help Council’s employees, and in-turn our community, to thrive,” Cr Pattison said.

“Council has been a trailblazer in this space, being the first public sector organisation in Australia to introduce family violence leave.

“It also promotes an inclusive and accessible community through awareness-raising events such as the rainbow flag-raising ceremony and grants awarded to community groups to mark IDAHOBIT, the International Women’s Day short film which showcased local females helping to break the bias, and annual International Day of People with Disability celebrations.

“We know there is still a lot of work to be done to meet gender equality and diversity objectives in our society, and this plan will help us work towards them.”

The GEDAP’s four goals are:

  • Improving Council’s ability to attract and retain a workforce that reflects the diversity of the community through gender equal recruitment processes and people practices;
  • Increasing innovation and creativity from a diverse workforce where unique experiences and strengths are welcomed and encouraged;
  • Enhancing employee wellbeing and performance through a safe and inclusive culture that supports equity, diversity and respectful behaviour; and
  • Eliminating gender-based pay gaps with equal remuneration for work of equal value.

The plan is a requirement of the Victorian Government Gender Equality Act 2020. Surf Coast Shire Council CEO Robyn Seymour said the GEDAP builds on the foundations of Council’s internal gender equity and sexual harassment action plans, and workplace diversity commitment.

“Surf Coast Shire Council has a role to play as an employer and community leader,” Ms Seymour said.

“I am confident that the commitments and actions outlined in the plan will drive change in our attitudes, approach and behaviour to build a workforce that reflects the diversity of our community and to progress true equality for all.”

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