Media Release: Safe Inclusive Workplaces – Our Equal Local Government Project Launch

Posted On: June 4, 2024

A collaborative local project aims to create safe inclusive workplaces by ending work-related gendered violence including sexual harassment through gender equality education and promotion.

Work-related gendered violence includes any behaviour, physical or psychological, that is directed or affects a person because of their sex, gender or sexual orientation. Statistics show that violence against young and adult women, LGBTIQA+ people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and gender diverse, Intersex, Queer, Questioning and Asexual) are higher than violence experienced by other genders.

Gippsland Women’s Health, as the lead agency along with One Gippsland members including all Gippsland Local Governments, Federation University, TAFE Gippsland and Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault were successful in securing funding for the WorkSafe WorkWell Respect Fund project. The initiative Our Equal Local Government, in partnership with local governments, seeks to strengthen the current work being undertaken in creating safe inclusive work environments.

The project employs a human centered design approach to promote inclusive and respectful behaviours at work. This involves:

  • Implementing sustainable systems and creating system level change
  • Creating resources to share firsthand insights
  • Developing learning materials for future industry use in strengthening safe, inclusive workplaces

“We are excited to expand our collaborations with Local Councils to end work-related gendered violence including sexual harassment. Gendered violence continues to impact our region year after year. This project will highlight to all local businesses and organisations that they can impact change in the community by starting with inclusive safe workplaces.” – Kate Graham, Chief Executive Officer, Gippsland Women’s Health

“As CEO, I am committed to creating an environment where everyone can freely unleash their potential and pursue their professional aspirations, regardless of gender or diversity. Ultimately, I aim to foster a culture where every employee feels appreciated, acknowledged, and where diversity is embraced and celebrated.” – Steven Piasente, Chief Executive Officer, Latrobe City Council 

” I am proud to be part of Our Equal Local Government project because gendered violence occurs in Gippsland communities at a rate that is completely unacceptable. As a leader of a local government organisation, I am passionate about doing my part to ensure our organisation is free from gendered violence and discrimination in the workplace, and demonstrates leadership in our community.” – Kerryn Ellis, Chief Executive Officer, South Gippsland Shire Council

“The right to safety within a workplace and a life space is a human right! Thus our commitment to this project.”– Jane Barr, Chief Executive Officer, Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault

“As Mayor of Wellington Shire Council, and representing our community through One Gippsland, I am fully dedicated to supporting initiatives like ‘Our Equal Local Government’ that strive to eradicate work-related gendered violence. It’s imperative that every workplace fosters an environment of respect, inclusion, and equality, and I’m proud to champion this cause alongside our local partners.”– Cr Ian Bye, Mayor Wellington Shire Council

“Workplaces play an important role in prevention of violence against women. We know that it can happen at work, and can shape how we think and act, at work and in our personal lives. We can stop violence by changing the beliefs and norms that support it. We’re excited to be part of this project and to work with GWH and our neighbouring councils.” – Greg Box, CEO Bass Coast Shire Council

Gippsland businesses and organisations are encouraged to visit the project webpage to engage with the project’s progress and utilise project focused resources for their own initiatives in creating safe and inclusive workplaces. Find out more via the Gippsland Women’s Health website: https://gwhealth.asn.au/our-equal-local-government