A week after launching a new three-year procurement strategy to build capability of public servants, the Western Australian Government has stepped up efforts with purchasing power to promote gender equality.
The State Government has announced a 12-month procurement pilot to shine exposure on gender equality in the workplace.
Under the move, WA is the second jurisdiction in Australia to introduce a gender equality clause into selected public sector procurement processes.
Suppliers seeking to apply for a government procurement contract will be required to demonstrate they meet gender equality reporting requirements, the McGowan Government says.
It’s an initiative of the Second Action Plan under Stronger Together: WA’s Plan for Gender Equality.
WA is the second jurisdiction in Australia, after Victoria, to introduce a gender equality clause in public sector procurement which begs the question when will the other states and territories follow suit?
Earlier in June, the Western Australian Government kicked off a Procurement Capability Development Strategy 2022-2025 “to realise full value” of the $16 billion it spends each on goods and services.
The strategy has five central pillars “to realise full value” through procurement.
WA’s equality procurement push is being driven by 15 State Government agencies and the pilot is led by the Department of Communities with support from the Department of Finance.
The pilot requires larger suppliers with 100 or more employees to provide a compliance letter demonstrating that they meet gender equality reporting requirements under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.
Suppliers with less than 100 employees will need to answer questions about how they support a gender equal workplace.
WA has one of the largest gender pay gaps in the country, according to the Workforce Gender Equality Agency which Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk says the government is trying to close through procurement.
“While significant advances have been made to remove barriers faced by women, there is still a long way to go to bring about lasting solutions and achieve equality for women,” Minister McGurk said.
“This initiative will use the purchasing power of the State Government to ensure companies are playing their part to address gender inequality in the workplace.”
“Research shows companies with gender diversity are more profitable and productive and have improved employee satisfaction and decision making.”
Stronger Together is the first whole-of-government, long-term plan to advance gender equality in WA through four action plans between 2020-2030. Further details on Stronger Together and the Second Action Plan can be viewed on the Department of Communities website.
Procurement to “reflect diversity”
Finance Minister Tony Buti said it was time for “procurement to reflect the diversity” of the WA community.
“WA still has a 21.9 per cent pay gap between full-time working men and women, so there’s more work to be done to address this imbalance,” Minster Buti said.
“By working proactively with WA businesses through procurement processes, we can reinforce good governance practices and elevate the importance of establishing equality.
“Just like the Aboriginal Employment Policy, we know when we set a goal, we can improve results.”