Role of the Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment

The Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment (DEOPE) is an independent statutory officer appointed by the Governor to perform the functions defined in Part IX of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (EO Act). The Public Sector Commission (the Commission) is the accountable authority under the Financial Management Act 2006 and provides the DEOPE with staff, accommodation, corporate services and administrative support.

While the current DEOPE holds an Executive Director position within the Commission, the role remains both legislatively and jurisdictionally independent. 

The integration of the role into the Commission facilitates active cooperation in initiatives and objectives which are substantively aligned. For example, the DEOPE and the Public Sector Commissioner regularly collaborate in the collection of workforce data and reporting, development of sector-wide programs and initiatives, evaluation of workforce programs, provision of professional advice, and the promotion of merit and equity in public sector employment. 

Wha​t the Act says

The objects of Part IX of the EO Act and role of the DEOPE as outlined in Section 140 of the EO Act are to:

  • eliminate and ensure the absence of discrimination in public employment
  • promote equal employment opportunity for all persons in public authorities.

What the fu​nctions are

The DEOPE has a number of statutory responsibilities under Section 143 of the EO Act that include:

  • to advise and assist in relation to EEO management plans, including the development of guidelines to assist authorities in preparing EEO management plans
  • to evaluate the effectiveness of EEO management plans in achieving the objects of Part IX of the EO Act
  • to make reports and recommendations to the Minister as to the operation of EEO management plans and such matters as the DEOPE thinks appropriate relating to the objects of Part IX of the EO Act.

The authority of the DEOPE extends to public sector agencies and non-public sector authorities (local governments, public universities and other authorities, including government trading enterprises, Police Force and electorate offices).

A list of public sector agencies and non-public sector authorities reporting to the DEOPE is provided in Appendix A.

Suppor​ting public authorities

The DEOPE primarily works with public authorities 1 in EEO management and planning practices. Advocating the strong case for diversity and inclusion is another important activity of the DEOPE, encouraging authorities to apply best practice.

Workforce planning must be applied more strategically as the workforce responds to rising fiscal pressures. To assist public authorities, the DEOPE has released two new employment strategies focusing on people with disability and Aboriginal Australians as part of the Commission and DEOPE’s Time for action: Diversity and inclusion in public employment (Time for action) series. 

The DEOPE has confidence in public authorities to harness these principles and to benefit from all forms of diversity through inclusion. 

About the role of the  Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment

1 The term ‘authority’ is defined by Section 138 of the EO Act and the term ‘public authority’ is defined by Section 139(3) of the EO Act. The term ‘public sector’ is defined by Section 3 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994.

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Page last updated 14 September 2017