Labor will continue to increase women’s representation in Parliament.
Labor believes it is essential to increase the number of women in Parliament.
That is why almost half of Labor’s candidates for the 2019 state election are women.
Women have been historically underrepresented in Parliament. This has meant many issues which affect women have not received the attention they deserve.
While 48 per cent of Labor’s candidates for the 2019 state election are women, only 26 percent of candidates for the Liberals and Nationals are women.6
Since 1994, Labor has used affirmative action policies to ensure women:
- Have an equal opportunity to participate in Labor’s internal committees and decision-making bodies; and
- Are not overlooked when we choose candidates for public office.
The Liberals and Nationals have refused to implement affirmative action policies for their parties. As a result, women continue to remain underrepresented in their party rooms.
Labor will return the Office for Women to the Department of Premier and Cabinet
In 2011, the Liberals and Nationals moved the Office for Women’s Policy from the Department of Premier and Cabinet to the Department of Family and Community Services.7
Labor will move the Office for Women back to the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
- Elevate the status of policy issues affecting women within the NSW Government;
- Acknowledge that policy issues affecting women are not limited to the Family and Community Services portfolio; and
- Allow a whole-of-government approach to be taken to developing and implementing policies to benefit women.
Labor will also move responsibility for preventing domestic, family and sexual violence to the Department of Premier and Cabinet. This will allow a whole-of-government approach to be taken to addressing these issues.
Labor will establish a Premier’s Council for Women
Labor will establish a Premier’s Council for Women. The Council will advise the NSW Government on a broad range of issues including:
- Supporting women at work and in business;
- Addressing health issues which predominantly or exclusively affect women; and
- Ending domestic, family and sexual violence.
Labor will appoint members of the Council following a merit-based selection process. Labor will seek to appoint members to the Council who can represent the diverse experiences of women in NSW, including:
- Women from rural and regional areas;
- Women with disabilities;
- Women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women; and
- Women of different ages, including older women and younger women.
Labor will also invest $500,000 to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Advisory Group. This group will provide advice to the NSW Government on issues which affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women.
Labor will require the publication of a Women’s Budget Statement
Labor will require the publication of a statement in the State Budget detailing:
- All expenditure and initiatives across government which support women and end gender discrimination; and
- The outcomes achieved by those initiatives.
The publication of a Women’s Budget Statement will provide accountability and transparency for the NSW Government’s initiatives to support women and end gender discrimination.
Labor will also:
- Require the publication of a budget statement regarding the NSW Government’s initiatives to prevent domestic, family and sexual violence;
- Require the Premier to make an annual statement to Parliament on the NSW Government’s progress on preventing domestic, family and sexual violence; and
- Require the Domestic Violence Death Review Team to report on an annual basis.
Labor will establish targets for women in leadership
Labor will require 50 per cent of senior positions in the NSW public sector to be held by women by 2024
Women currently make up more than 60 per cent of the NSW public sector workforce. However, women hold only 39 per cent of senior positions.8
Labor will require 50 per cent of senior positions in the NSW public sector to be held by women by 2024.
To achieve this goal, Labor will:
Develop and implement initiatives to provide women currently working in the NSW public sector with additional skills and qualifications which may be relevant if they wish to apply for a senior position; and
Encourage women to work for the NSW public sector by making the NSW Government a model employer.
Labor will establish targets for women on NSW Government boards and committees
There are approximately 400 NSW Government boards and committees. In total, there are approximately 4,000 positions on these boards and committees.9
NSW Government boards and committees provide advice and oversight in relation to matters including, health, education, justice, industry, the environment, the arts and sport.
The proportion of NSW Government board and committee positions held by women has barely changed since the Liberals and Nationals took office:
- In 2011, 38 per cent of NSW Government board and committee positions were held by women;10 and
- In December 2017, 42 per cent of NSW Government board and committee positions were held by women.11
In 2018, the Liberals and Nationals released a NSW Women’s Strategy. The Strategy:
- Acknowledged women remain underrepresented on boards and committees; but
- Did not include any targets or specific initiatives to address this problem.12
Labor will require 50 per cent of new appointments to NSW Government boards and committees to be women during the next term of Parliament.
Ensuring women are equitably represented on boards and committees will:
- Make these bodies more representative of the population of NSW; and
- Improve decision-making by allowing these bodies to draw on the experiences of people from a broader range of backgrounds.
Labor will reform board and committee appointment processes
The current processes used by the Liberals and Nationals to appoint members of NSW Government boards and committees:
- Lacks transparency and accountability;
- Does not ensure candidates are selected on merit; and
- Does not ensure women or other underrepresented groups are represented on an equitable basis.
The NSW Government currently allows people interested in serving on boards or committees to express their interest online through a Boards and Committees Register. This process allows potential board appointees to indicate:
- Their gender;
- If they are a young person;
- If they have a disability;
- If they are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person; and
- If they are from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.
However, this process does not:
- Provide any data regarding the number of people from underrepresented groups who have expressed an interest in joining a board or committee;
- Provide any insight into how potential board members from underrepresented groups were considered during the selection process; or
- Provide any accountability mechanism to ensure potential board members from underrepresented groups are not overlooked during the appointment process.
Labor will reform the process for board and committee appointments to:
- Encourage more women and people from underrepresented groups to apply for board and committee appointments; and
- Ensure women and people from underrepresented groups are fairly considered in the course of board and committee appointment processes.
Labor will amend anti-discrimination laws to protect women at work
Labor will amend anti-discrimination laws in NSW to:
- Ensure employers reasonably accommodate the needs of employees who require flexible working arrangements because they:
o Are pregnant;
o Have family responsibilities;
o Have responsibilities as carers; or
o Are older or are returning to work following an illness;
Protect employees and others from sex discrimination in areas such as redundancy, dismissal and the non-renewal of work contracts due to pregnancy, parental leave or other family and caring commitments; and
Improve pay discrimination laws, including mechanisms for inquiry, evaluation and correction of gender pay discrimination.
Labor’s revised anti-discrimination laws will apply to all workers in NSW, including workers in:
- The NSW public sector;
- The local government sector; and
- The private sector.
Labor will make the NSW Government a model employer
The NSW Government is the largest employer in Australia:
- Almost 400,000 people work in the NSW public sector;13
- Almost 1 in 10 employees in NSW work in the NSW public sector.14
Labor believes the NSW Government should be a model employer.
To achieve this goal, Labor will address workplace discrimination and gender inequality by:
- Creating a dedicated unit within the Office of Industrial Relations to develop practical solutions to address workplace discrimination;
- Ensuring public sector agencies implement all six recommendations of the Advancing women: Increasing the participation of women in senior roles in the NSW public sector report prepared for the NSW Public Service Commission; and
- Identifying and ending behaviours which perpetuate harmful stereotypes at work.
Labor will promote awareness of the rights of pregnant workers
Labor will work with businesses, unions and the community to ensure:
- Employers are aware of their legal obligations in relation to employees who are pregnant; and
- Employees are aware of their legal rights if they are pregnant
Labor will collaborate with peak bodies from businesses, unions and the community to develop and deliver information regarding:
- Employer obligations;
- Employee rights; and
- Leading practices and strategies in relation to pregnant employees.
Labor will focus on developing materials for employers regarding their legal obligations in relation to:
- The work health and safety needs of pregnant employees;
- Employees undergoing fertility treatment; and
- Employees returning to work after childbirth, miscarriage or stillbirth.
Labor will give all NSW workers 10 days of paid domestic violence leave
Labor will pass legislation to give all workers in NSW a right to ten days of paid domestic violence leave.
- The Commonwealth workplace relations system provides five days of unpaid domestic violence leave;15 and
- The NSW Government provides ten days of paid domestic violence leave, but only for NSW Government public sector workers.16
A Daley Labor Government will give all workers in NSW a right to ten days of paid domestic violence leave. This will help people who have been affected by domestic violence to attend court, obtain legal advice and receive counselling while maintaining their employment.
Labor will expand access to early childhood education
Labor will support women by making the largest investment in early childhood education in the history of NSW.
Working together, a Daley NSW Labor Government and a Shorten Federal Labor Government will invest more than $500 million to deliver initiatives which include:
- Increasing funding for 3 year‑old children in community preschools;
- Providing funding for 3 year‑old children who attend long day care services;
- Doubling current state funding provided for children who attend long day care services;
- Investing $292 million to establish a new Little Kids Big Futures fund;
- Investing $18 million to trial Specialist Early Interventions to assist children who may have a disability, learning difficulty or health issue.
Labor’s record investment in early childhood education will:
- Increase access to early childhood education; and
- Reduce fees paid by families.
Labor will support women with free TAFE places
Labor will make TAFE free for more than 600,000 students over the next decade.
Labor’s plan will help women develop skills to find jobs in sectors experiencing skills shortages, including construction, disability services, electrical trades, aged care and renewable energy.
Labor will invest $500,000 to deliver new mentoring and networking opportunities for women in business
Labor will support women in business by investing $500,000 over four years to develop new mentoring and networking opportunities.
Labor’s new mentoring and networking opportunities will be developed by the Office for Women in consultation with the Premier’s Council for Women and the business community.
Labor will focus on providing support for:
- Female entrepreneurs;
- Women working in sectors of the economy which are traditionally dominated by men; and
- Women in business from rural and regional communities.
Labor will support women in music
Women are currently underrepresented in the Australian music scene. A 2017 study by the University of Sydney found:
- Only one in five songwriters and composers registered with the Australasian Performing Rights Association are women;
- Women creative artists earn less than their male counterparts;
- Music festival line-ups are dominated by male artists and male-lead acts;
- Women hold only 28 per cent of senior and strategic roles in key industry organisations; and
- Women are underrepresented on the boards of peak national music bodies.17
Labor will invest $35 million to support live music in NSW. This investment includes:
- $11.5 million to support working musicians to tour regionally, nationally and internationally;
- $1.3 million to rebuild regional touring circuits; and
- $4 million to support music festivals and events.
Labor will ensure the guidelines used to allocate this funding reflect Labor’s commitment to gender equality. This will ensure female musicians receive their fair share of support in order to develop their careers.
Labor will invest $4 million to support Aboriginal girls through the Girls Academy program
Labor will invest $4 million over four years to support the Girls Academy program.
The Girls Academy program is an initiative of Role Models and Leaders Australia. The program empowers Aboriginal girls through:
- Leadership training;
- Sport; and
- Extra-curricular programs.
There are currently Girls Academies located across NSW in areas including Tamworth, the Hunter, Kemspey and the Central West.18
In 2018, the Liberals and Nationals announced $4 million in funding for the Clontarf Foundation, an organisation which provides education and life skills programs to Aboriginal boys.19
However, the Liberals and Nationals neglected to provide any funding for an equivalent program to benefit Aboriginal girls.
Labor will rectify the Liberals and Nationals’ neglect of Aboriginal girls by providing $4 million for the Girls Academy program.
Labor will create a minimum ratio of 1 midwife for every 3 mothers
Labor will require a minimum of 1 midwife be rostered to care for every 3 mothers in maternity units in NSW.
This minimum ratio will apply to morning, afternoon and night shifts. Where the number of patients is not divisible by 3, staffing levels will be rounded-up.
Ensuring there is a minimum of 1 midwife for every 3 mothers in a maternity unit will:
- Improve the quality of care provided to mothers and their babies; and
- Reduce workplace stress for midwives, which can lead to a loss of skilled workers from this important profession.
This initiative is part of Labor’s plan to:
- Hire 5,500 additional nurses over the next four years; and
- Implement nurse-to-patient ratios throughout the NSW health system.
Labor will work toward allowing pharmacists to provide emergency prescriptions for urinary tract infection medications
Labor will work with the Commonwealth Government and the governments of other states and territories through the Council of Australian Government’s Health Ministers process to allow pharmacists to issue three-day emergency prescriptions for urinary tract infections on the weekend.
The pharmacists will be able to provide the medication for women aged between 16 and 65 years in one-off emergency situations. This would be similar to practices in New Zealand and some Canadian pharmacies.20
Labor will invest $15 million to expand the services provided by Women’s Health Centres
There are 19 Women’s Health Centres in NSW, which collectively receive $10 million in funding each year from the NSW Ministry of Health.21
A report by NSW Health found Women’s Health Centres provide a vital role helping women access health care. The report found Women’s Health Centres help women access health care by providing:
- A safe, private space for women;
- Free or low-cost services; and
- Outreach and targeted programs.22
In 2016-17, Women’s Health Centres across NSW provided:
- More than 41,000 medical appointments;
- More than 12,000 nursing appointments;
- More than 18,000 counselling appointments; and
- More than 7,000 complementary therapies.23
Labor will invest $8 million to help Women’s Health Centres employ more specialist caseworkers for domestic, family and sexual violence
Labor will invest $8 million over the next four years to help Women’s Health Centres across NSW expand their work caring for women who have experienced domestic, family or sexual violence.
Labor’s investment will help Women’s Health Centres employ additional specialist caseworkers.
Labor will invest $7 million to trial new health screening and outreach programs
Labor will invest $7 million to trial new screening and outreach programs which will be delivered by Women’s Health Centres.
The early detection of health conditions can significantly improve health outcomes. For example, women aged 50-69 who undergo breast screening have been found to reduce their risk of death from breast cancer by around 40 per cent.24
The screening programs will focus on the early detection of:
- Common conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes; and
- Conditions which predominately or exclusively affect women, such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, human papillomavirus and endometriosis.
The outreach programs will expand upon work already done by Women’s Health Centres to provide health care to different groups of women.
This work includes outreach to:
- Women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds;
- Aboriginal women;
- Women with disabilities;
- Young women;
- Older women
- LGBTIQ women; and
- Women from rural and regional communities.
Labor will consult Women’s Health Centres and medical experts to develop the specific scope of these trial programs.
Labor will seek expressions of interest from universities and medical research organisations to monitor, evaluate and report on these trial programs.
Labor will support women in sport
Labor will invest $15 million to improve netball facilities throughout NSW.
Netball is the most popular team sport played by women and girls in Australia.25
Labor’s investment will deliver:
- $5 million for Southern Districts Netball to build an indoor netball facility;
- $5 million to deliver a multi-court facility in Ryde; and
- $5 million to create a regional 32 court compeition field in Maitland;
Labor will also:
- Invest $1 million to establish a grants fund for gymnastics; and
- Audit existing programs for sport to ensure women are recieving their fair share of grant funding and have equal access to facilities.
Labor will invest $80 million to expand specialist domestic violence services and refuges
Labor will invest $80 million over the next four years to expand the services provided by specialist domestic violence services and refuges.
Labor’s funding will allow an additional 200 places to be created for women and children. Specialist domestic violence services and refuges play a vital role:
- Helping women and children escape domestic violence; and
- Providing women and children with support and advice.
Labor will focus on funding services in rural and regional areas which have been neglected by the Liberals and Nationals.
Labor will undertake a comprehensive review into the provision of specialist women’s refuges to identify and address the gaps in service provision.
Labor will also examine opportunities to establish culturally appropriate refuges for Aboriginal women in areas with high need.
Labor will invest $6.8 million to support the counselling services provided by NSW Rape Crisis
Labor will invest $6.8 million over four years to support trauma counselling services provided by NSW Rape Crisis.
NSW Rape Crisis is a 24/7 telephone and online crisis counselling service for anyone who has experienced domestic, family and sexual violence.
The service is provided by Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia.26 Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia provides assistance to more than 18,000 people each year.27
Labor’s investment will help expand this important service to ensure anyone can access specialist support 24/7 from anywhere in NSW.
Labor will invest $10.8 million to expand Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services
Labor will invest $10.8 million to expand Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services.
Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services play an essential role supporting women who have experienced domestic violence.
There are 29 Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services across NSW.28
The number of women accessing Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services has doubled over the last four years, with more than 43,000 women now using these services each year.29
In 2018, the Liberals and Nationals abandoned a plan to restructure Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services following public criticism.30
Labor’s investment will allow Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services to hire additional specialist case management support officers. This will expand upon the successful case management programs offered in Wagga Wagga and the Macarthur region.31
Labor will work with Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services to recruit Aboriginal caseworkers to ensure culturally appropriate support is available for Aboriginal women who have experienced domestic violence.
Labor will invest $625,000 to support the Women’s Family Law Court Support Service
Labor will invest $625,000 over five years to support the Women’s Family Law Court Support Service.
The Women’s Family Law Court Support Service provides assistance to women in relation to family law matters. Many of the women assisted by the Women’s Family Law Court Support Service are seeking a divorce and custody of their children due to domestic and family violence.
Under the Liberals and Nationals, the Women’s Family Law Court Support Service has been forced to subsist on short-term 12 month funding arrangements.
Labor’s investment will provide long-term funding certainty for the Women’s Family Law Court Support Service.
Labor will trial specialist courts for domestic violence and sexual assault at three locations
Labor will trial new specialist courts for domestic violence and sexual assault. The courts will initially be trialled in Sydney, the Hunter and the Illawarra.
The specialist courts for domestic violence and sexual assault will deal with matters including:
- Issuing Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders;
- Prosecuting breaches of Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders;
- Prosecutions for domestic violence offences; and
- Prosecutions for sexual assault offences.
The use of specialist courts for domestic violence and sexual assault will:
- Allow greater support services to be provided to complainants;
- Ensure judicial officers, lawyers and court staff receive specialist training regarding domestic violence and sexual assault; and
- Allow court facilities to be designed to give complainants privacy and security.
The introduction of specialist domestic violence courts has been supported by:
- The NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team;32
- The Australian Law Reform Commission;33
- The Safe State Campaign;34 and
- The Redfern Legal Centre.35
Labor will invest $40 million to increase victim’s recognition payments
Labor will invest $40 million over the next four years to increase victim’s recognition payments.
Recognition payments are intended to recognise the trauma a victim has suffered due to violence. The amount paid to a victim depends on the type of crime. For example:
- A victim of a sexual assault which resulted in a serious bodily injury would be eligible for a payment of $10,000; while
- A victim of an assault which did not result in grievous bodily harm will be eligible for a payment of $1,500.36
Labor’s $40 million investment will allow an increase in the recognition payments made to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Labor will also review the entire victim compensation payment system to ensure victim-survivors are able to access the scheme easily and in a timely manner.
Labor will refer abortion laws to the NSW Law Reform Commission
NSW and South Australia are currently the only states which have not decriminalised abortion.37
Abortion is prohibited in NSW under sections 82, 83 and 84 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). These provisions have not been updated since they were introduced in 1900.38
In practice, courts in NSW have generally ruled that an abortion may be permitted if doctors are satisfied of certain matters.39
Labor will request the NSW Law Reform Commission review laws in NSW which criminalise abortion and present options and recommendations to the NSW Parliament.
Labor will continue to grant all parliamentarians a conscience vote in relation to abortion legislation.
Labor will invest $500,000 to support volunteer women’s groups
Labor will invest $500,000 over four years to provide grants of up-to $1,000 per year to volunteer women’s groups.
Labor’s investment will help volunteer women’s groups in communities across NSW to:
- Celebrate International Women’s Day and other significant events; and
- Fund their administrative and operational costs, such as renting venues or publishing newsletters.
Labor will protect the heritage of women in NSW
Labor will protect and preserve the heritage of women in NSW, including the North Parramatta heritage precinct.
The North Parramatta heritage precinct includes the Parramatta Female Factory historic precinct, which is the oldest surviving convict women’s site in Australia.
Labor will fast-track World Heritage listing for this important area.