Meeting of the COAG Select Council on Women’s Issues
18 July 2012, Darwin, Northern Territory
The Hon. Malarndirri McCarthy, MLA, Minister for Women’s Policy, Northern Territory, chaired the second meeting of the COAG Select Council on Women’s Issues (the Select Council) in Darwin on Wednesday 18 July 2012.
Minister McCarthy welcomed Ministers and Officials with the showing of a DVD “ Harnessing the Northern Territory’s economic success for Territory women”.
The Select Council was established by COAG in September 2011 to pursue reform of critical national importance, replacing the former Commonwealth, State, Territory and New Zealand Ministers’ Conference on the Status of Women.
Women’s Ministers reasserted their commitment to work collaboratively to progress national reform through:
- implementation of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children
- developing and recommending a national framework for gender equality and
- developing a national approach to promote the leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in governance and decision-making for communities and organisations.
The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 (the National Plan)
Women’s Ministers made considerable commitments to the implementation of the National Plan.
Ministers discussed the First National Implementation Plan which will run until the end of 2013 and will inform subsequent implementation activities. Progress has already been made on primary prevention activities, improvements to service delivery, strengthening justice responses and building the evidence base.
Ministers will present the first annual report on the implementation of the National Plan to COAG by the end of 2012.
Ministers also agreed to commence work towards the development of a National Data Collection and Reporting Framework. The first step is to produce a single overarching, framework for data needs analysis across the areas of domestic violence and sexual assault. This will ensure future priorities across States and Territories are based on robust evidence and facts.
Significantly, Ministers agreed to work towards the development of the National Centre of Excellence (the NCE). The NCE is a key strategy to deliver on the National Plan’s goal of improving the evidence base and its application towards enhancing policy, programs and practice. Research that identifies prevention and early intervention activities across a range of services has the potential to lessen the costs of domestic violence to individuals and the community.
Women in non-traditional jobs
Ministers discussed in depth the range of strategies for increasing women’s participation in non-traditional occupations across Australia, and the array of opportunities that exist for cooperation across jurisdictions to ensure that existing government initiatives and programs contribute in real ways towards enhanced economic security for women in the long term.
The Select Council established a new working group to focus on strategies to assist women and girls entering non-traditional trades initially and subsequently broadening to other non-traditional areas.
The Select Council on Women’s Issues commends the resources, mining and construction industries for the progress they have made in employing women.
We challenge them to further advance women’s participation, recognising the benefits this will have for productivity and in addressing skill shortages.
We look forward to even greater levels of women’s employment in non-traditional areas.
Gender Equality Framework
Ministers discussed progress in the development of the National Framework for Gender Equality.
The Select Council on Women’s Issues will continue to work with other COAG Councils and the COAG Reform Council to better develop the responsiveness of COAG councils to gender equality and to improve reporting mechanisms across jurisdictions.
Promoting the Leadership of Indigenous Women
Developing strategies to promote the leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and encouraging organisational change so that more Indigenous women fill leadership positions, is a vital step in Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage.
Ministers discussed the importance of engaging with Indigenous women, through a broad-ranging consultation process, to identify clearly:
- the scope of leadership styles, qualities and issues;
- the barriers to participation in governance and decision-making roles in community, government and the private sector; and
- the available data on Indigenous women in leadership roles and programs that have worked. Jurisdictions shared information and discussed preliminary consultations with Indigenous organisations. Women’s Ministers agreed to liaise closely with COAG colleagues to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage through their focus on governance and leadership.
Ministers noted that Queensland’s position on items considered at the meeting was reserved and will be confirmed out of session.