Minister for Women
Gender Equality
24 May, 2018


Question Time

Mr SHELTON question to MINISTER for WOMEN, Mrs PETRUSMA

[10.34 a.m.]

The Hodgman Government has a vision for a more inclusive Tasmania that empowers women and girls. While action taken over the last fours years has moved Tasmania closer to this objective, gender inequality still occurs. What can we, as a Government, do to help address this issue?

ANSWER Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his question. Since 2014, the Hodgman Liberal Government has been committed to making Tasmania a state where all people have equal opportunity to participate in Tasmania’s social, political, economic and cultural life. A person’s gender should not be a barrier to opportunity or participation.

The Hodgman Government has led by example and delivered a number of firsts for women as we continue to strive for gender equality. Women have been elevated to a number of key roles, including Tasmania’s first female Speaker of the House of Assembly, our first female Governor, our first female Chief Magistrate, the first Minister for Women since 2006, and Tasmania’s first nation-leading family violence action plan Safe Homes, Safe Families.

Notwithstanding all the good work already being done, gender inequality still persists in our community. We must continue to address this. Therefore I am proud today to launch our new [Bookmark: OLE_LINK77] Tasmanian Women’s Strategy 2018-21.

The new strategy has the vision for Tasmanian women and girls to live in a safe community, have access to equal pay, resources and opportunities and to be treated with equal respect and fairness. Our objective under the strategy is to empower and support women and girls to reach their full potential to participate in and contribute to the economic, social, political and cultural life of the community. All women and girls have a right to financial security and independence, be safe at home, at work, at their place of study and in the community, equal opportunities in leadership and participation and to access information and services to make informed choices about their health and wellbeing.

To achieve these principles our new strategy focuses on four identified strategic priority areas of action: financial security; leadership and participation; health and wellbeing; and safety. The strategy has been developed following extensive consultation with nearly 1400 people participating in a survey, as well as 13 in-depth written submissions received, 11 from Tasmanian women’s organisations and two from individuals.

The four priority areas were identified through our community consultations and also in line with the work and learnings from successful initiatives undertaken by the Australian Government, other state and territory governments, the Australian Human Rights Commission and UN Women. The priority areas are all connected. Taking action under one priority area can have positive outcomes across one or more priority areas.

The Tasmanian Women’s Council will assist the Government to meet the strategy’s objective and will actively monitor its implementation alongside a Tasmanian women’s strategy group to ensure that there is an integrated and coordinated approach to implementing the strategy. As many of the levers that affect outcomes for women lie within the jurisdiction of the Australian Government through COAG and other inter-governmental forums, the Tasmanian Government will continue to be a strong advocate and negotiator for joint national strategies.

The strategy also celebrates what we have achieved under the Tasmanian Women’s Plan 2013-18. It builds upon the Government’s existing inclusion initiatives and calls for a united approach from the Government, private and community sectors, as well as the wider community to work together in Tasmania’s quest to achieve gender equality. It outlines why we need gender equality, provides a snapshot in key facts on women and girls in Tasmania, and outlines what the Government is doing and what we can do together. Action plans will also be developed for each of the priority areas, with the first one to have a focus on financial security.

As the strategy is a living document over the next three years the Government will work with Tasmanians from all sectors and walks of life to identify priorities, review progress, develop new actions and consolidate and strengthen existing activities.

The Hodgman Liberal Government firmly believes that gender equality is critical to reducing economic disadvantage, enhancing economic growth and democratic governance, increasing the wellbeing of women, girls and their families. We will do everything in our power to make this a priority and the new women’s strategy we are releasing today is a critical step in this process.

[10.39 a.m.]