Division of Local Government wakes up to tell us not to worry

In the August issue of depaNews we reported that we had written (our letter of 25 August) to the Department of Local Government requesting the review of the anti-discrimination provisions in the Local Government Act. These provisions were drafted in 1993, had not been reviewed, and specifically required councils to act to eliminate discrimination in employment "on the grounds of race, sex, marital status and disability".

Our concern was that since 1993 the Anti-Discrimination Act had made unlawful a number of additional areas of discrimination (in particular, being discriminated against because of an employee’s responsibilities as a carer) which were not acknowledged in the Local Government Act and, because section 346 provides that in the event of any inconsistency between a Council’s EEO management plan and the provisions of the anti-Discrimination Act, then the Council’s management plan prevails. We thought this had the potential of rendering invalid those areas of unlawful discrimination included in the Anti-Discrimination Act since 1993

We said in August that because the Division of Local Government likes to put the clock on local government performance, we would put the clock on them.

Our letter was dated 25 August and their response to us was dated 9 February and without getting too particular, that’s just over 23 weeks - or about 115 working days. Just as well the Minister’s Committee on Women in Local Government encouraged them to be quick about it!

Anyway, they tell us that we were wrong and that we needn't worry. See their response here.

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