As the Acting Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment (DEOPE), I am pleased to present the DEOPE Annual report 2013. My acting commenced on 1 July 2013, and therefore this report details the activities and achievements for the 2012/13 reporting year when Mr Michael Palermo was the DEOPE.
It is pleasing to note the ongoing commitment of public authorities 1 to the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (EO Act), particularly as it relates to the achievement of equity and diversity in public employment. This year’s report recognises some positive progress in diversity outcomes across the sector. For example, public sector entities have seen an upward trend in the representation of women in the senior executive service (SES), which has increased by four percentage points to 29.2 per cent since 2009. Local government authorities are leading in the representation of youth, with young indoor and outdoor workers accounting for 14.2 per cent and 7.0 per cent of the workforce respectively. The distribution of Indigenous Australians in public universities has seen strong improvements since 2009. Other authorities have seen an increase in the representation of women in tier 1 and 2 positions to 10.0 per cent and 19.1 per cent respectively.
Given the Western Australian Government’s commitment to increasing the representation of Indigenous Australians across public sector agencies to 3.2 per cent by 2015, an enhanced focus is needed in this area. The former DEOPE participated as a member of the Public Sector Commission’s (the Commission) Aboriginal Employment Strategy Governance Group to actively support an increase in the number of Aboriginal trainees employed in the sector. In 2013/14, I will continue this work as a member of the governance group and further progress a range of strategies to support the employment of Aboriginal people.
The Aboriginal community is a key client group for many public authorities. Consequently, it is critical for those agencies to have programs in place to “close the gap’ across a number of outcome areas, particularly in Aboriginal employment. A key priority for all public authorities will be to address direct and indirect barriers to Aboriginal employment.
This involves establishing effective programs to attract, develop and retain the skills and insight to run inclusive and effective programs and services. I will continue to work in collaboration with the Commission to progress initiatives in this area.
Increasing the representation of other diversity groups in public employment remains a priority, particularly for people with disability and women in management. By working with the Commission, on programs that target these diversity groups, I am confident that we will see a greater commitment to improved equal employment opportunity outcomes by all public authorities.
The connection between the achievement of improved employment equity and enhanced government services needs to be continually emphasised. Equity and diversity in public employment is an important end in itself, and a key driver for increasing productivity and enhancing the delivery of government services to our diverse community. I am keen to see public authorities build upon their equal employment opportunity (EEO) management plans to achieve diversity and equal opportunity objectives. A key focus over the coming year will be to translate plans and strategies into measurable outcomes.
As you read this year’s annual report, you will notice some changes to the format from previous years. While the report properly addresses all legislative requirements for reporting under section 144 of the EO Act, including the work and activities of the DEOPE and the administration of functions in the reporting period, it no longer includes detailed workforce diversity data. Additional commentary about trends and issues relating to the diversity profile of the public sector will be provided through “How does your agency compare’ reports to entities as well as the “State of the sector 2013’ report which will be presented to Parliament by the Public Sector Commissioner in late 2013.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank public authorities for their efforts and commitment to the diversity agenda. I also would like to thank the Public Sector Commissioner, Mr Mal Wauchope, for his ongoing support and commitment to equal opportunity in public employment. I particularly wish to acknowledge the work and contribution of Mr Michael Palermo, the outgoing DEOPE since 2009, and his 2013 team, for their expertise and commitment to enhancing equity and diversity.
I am pleased to present this year’s report and look forward to working with public authorities and other stakeholders in 2013/14.
Acting Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment
1 Public authorities refers to public sector entities and other authorities (including government trading enterprises), local government authorities and public universities.
Page last updated 15 July 2014