COAG Select Council on Women’s Issues Terms of Reference

COAG Select Councils are established by COAG, following proposal by a First Minister, to:

  • a)   pursue a reform task/s of critical national importance, within a specific time period, which requires sustained, collaborative effort;
  • b)   address key areas of shared Commonwealth, State and Territory responsibility and funding; and
  • c)   undertake work that cannot be performed by another body, such as a taskforce, working group or group of officials.

The Select Council will pursue the following COAG strategic themes as its major focus:

  1. Long-Term Strategy for Participation
  2. Closing the Gap for Indigenous Australians.


Chair rotates through the member governments.


Commonwealth, State and Territory Minister responsible for women’s issues. See membership list.

Scope of Reform Task/s and Timeframe

The Select Council on Women's Issues is a Ministerial forum, reporting to COAG, for member Governments to work collaboratively to:

  • implement the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children;
  • develop and recommend a national framework for gender equality; and
  • develop a national approach to promote the leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Specifically, the Select Council will:

  1. Work with other relevant Councils, particularly the Law and Justice Standing Council, in overseeing the implementation of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children (the National Plan), particularly the first three-year Action Plan.
  2. Develop and recommend a national framework for considering gender equality, with a focus on reporting and analysis at a national level of equality of outcomes between women and men, including by the COAG Reform Council and across the Council System.
  3. Develop a national approach to promote the leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in governance and decision-making for communities and organisations.

Operations and Resourcing

The Council will be supported by a senior officials group.

The National Plan will be progressed through the National Plan Implementation Panel with representation from the Commonwealth, all jurisdictions and non-government.

Meetings will be held up to twice a year, back to back with Law and Justice Standing Council’s meetings where possible.

Secretariat support will be provided initially by the Australian Government Office for Women.

Resourcing will be according to jurisdictional contributions on a pro-rata basis.

Meetings of Councils and officials will utilise the TelePresence network as much as possible to transact their business, to minimise environmental impacts and meeting and travel costs.


Councils will make decisions on the basis of consensus.


The Council will provide progress reports to COAG through the Select Council secretariat as per the key milestones in its project plan and at least biannually.

Approximately six months before its expiry date the Select Council will put forward to COAG a proposal for how any further priorities, specific projects or reforms should be handled, and in what timeframe, and provide advice on whether it needs to continue.

The Council will provide a final report to COAG by 30 June 2013.  This final report will articulate the extent of Council’s achievement against its intended reform tasks and objectives and identify any decisions required following the conclusion of the Select Council.  The final report will include recommendations for governance of the implementation of the second Action Plan (2013-2016) of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children.

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