Greens to re-introduce Bill to address gender pay gap in Western Australia

Greens spokesperson for Industrial Relations and Women Hon Alison Xamon MLC will re-introduce a Bill to Parliament designed to tackle the appalling 22% gender pay gap in Western Australia.

Making the announcement today to mark Zero Discrimination Day, Ms Xamon said her Industrial Relations (Equal Remuneration) Amendment Bill 2018 would allow the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission to hear pay equity cases and to make enforceable equal remuneration orders to ensure employees are able to receive equal pay for work of equal value.

She said the bill would enable one tool to contribute to reducing the gap, which in Western Australia is about 7% higher than the gap Australia-wide. 

“Western Australia has the highest pay gap in the country, with women earning 22% less than their male counterparts – this is compared with 15% nationally*,” Ms Xamon said.

“Shockingly, the gap is around the same as it was 30 years ago.”

Ms Xamon said pay inequality was present at all skills and income levels across all industries, with some sectors such as finance and retail having higher than average gender pay gaps.

She said pay inequity limited the choices and opportunities for both women and men as it influenced family decisions about who would undertake care and affected superannuation contributions and retirement savings.

As well as re-introducing her bill to the Legislative Council at the earliest opportunity, Ms Xamon said she would call on the Government to re-establish the Pay Equity Unit.  

“Pay equity is a complex issue that requires a multi-dimensional approach,” Ms Xamon said.

“With International Women’s Day just around the corner, we should be leading the other States in our efforts to address the gender pay gap because we have the most work to do.”

Alison first introduced her Industrial Relations (Equal Remuneration) Amendment Bill 2011 on 20 October 2011.

*exact figures are 22.54% for Western Australia, 15.26% nationally, as of November 2017