Gender equality

​​Our department values diversity and inclusion, and strives to create a culture where differences are recognised and valued.

The need for a diverse workplace, now and for our future, is not about numbers or statistics. It is not sufficient to bring together a diverse mix of people—it's about having a culture that encourages all employees to reach their full potential in the workplace.

We are committed to embedding gender equality into our culture.

Gender equality means the different behaviours, aspirations and needs of all genders are considered and valued equally, and rights, responsibilities and opportunities do not depend on an individual's gender.

Research shows that barriers to gender equality in the workplace are real and work is underway to understand what these might be for our organisation.

It will take a lot of work, and time, to drive sustainable, real change but we embrace gender equality and are dedicated to take action to improve organisational practices and culture.

Our commitment to gender equality in the workplace

The department has a formal commitment PDF​   [519 KB, 1 page],​ signed by the Secretary on behalf of the department, which outlines our intent to build a gender equitable and inclusive workplace.

Our targets for gender equality in the workplace

The department has set gender equality targets and actions to improve gender diversity in our workforce. The targets are intended to be ambitious but achievable within the next two years, with appropriate leadership and action.

The targets support the department in our goal towards gender equality and seek creative solutions to achieve gender balance at every level of our business.

At a departmental level, women currently form 50 per cent of the total workforce and 45 per cent of our SES leadership cohort.

A regular reporting regime will be implemented to actively measure and monitor progress, with action taken when metrics indicate an imbalance.

(to be achieved over 3 years)
Information Services Division

Women represent:

> 50% of new commencements
> 45% of total employees

  1. Conduct targeted ICT recruitment for graduates
  2. Create connections and direct pathways for the talent pipeline through university and industry partnerships
  3. Monitor each stage of the recruitment process
Service Delivery Division

Women represent:

> 50% of new commencements
> 45% of total employees

  1. Develop and implement a workforce plan for the Vet and Meat Export Services Stream
  2. Monitor each stage of the recruitment process
Leadership feeder group (EL2)

Women represent

> 50% of new commencements

  1. Implement new strategies for recruiting and promoting staff into management positions including
    1. a targeted EL talent management programme
    2. a mobility and capability interchange register for temporary assignments
Flexible work arrangements

Increase take-up of various forms of flexible work to > 35%

  1. Improve record management processes to capture the use of flexible working arrangements
  2. Streamline current processes and provide enhanced support for managers and employees
  3. Identify barriers, impediments and enablers to the use of flexible working arrangements (emphasis on men)
  4. Review job design practices and adopt a ‘flexible by default’ approach
Whole of department action
  1. Reposition the external image of the department and review the approach to recruitment
    1. review and amend selection processes, guidance material and selection documentation
    2. require gender diversity on recruitment panels
    3. deliver unconscious bias awareness training for recruitment panel members
  2. Amend procurement practices to ensure external service providers meet the requirements of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012

Our gender equality implementation and delivery plan

The department’s gender equality implementation and delivery plan PDF [604 KB, 1 page] outlines a range of initiatives and actions to support and bring to life our commitment statement.

[Expand all]


  • Publish our Gender Equality Commitment Statement
  • Conduct assessment to benchmark current performance using Workplace Gender Equality Diagnostic Tool
  • Submit Targets and associated action plan to Secretaries Equality and Diversity Council
  • Develop a Family and Domestic Violence Reference Guide
  • Facilitate focus groups and let’s talk sessions to explore gender equality issues.

Mid 2017

  • Engage with portfolio agencies and support a collective approach to gender equality
  • Adopt an ‘if not, why not’ approach to flexible working practices and ensure support is in place to maximise success
  • Pilot training on family and domestic violence awareness
  • Rollout training to improve unconscious bias awareness to managers and leaders
  • Develop a regular gender equality reporting framework to actively measure progress.

End 2017

  • Implement a targeted talent management program
  • Establish connections and direct pathways for the ICT pipeline
  • Participate in University of New South Wales (UNSW) research program
  • Develop a ‘keeping in touch’ and ‘reconnect’ program for staff on extended leave
  • Deliver seminars on superannuation options for employees.

Mid 2018 and beyond

  • Develop and implement a workforce plan for the Veterinary and Meat Export Services Stream
  • Implement interventions arising from UNSW research program
  • Extend work to maximise flexible working within the department e.g. job sharing
  • Support staff in navigating difficult career transition points e.g. capability interchange
  • Examine opportunities to improve gender equality through the next enterprise bargaining process.
Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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