This section outlines the relevant sections of the Gender Equality Act that defined entities are required to comply with. Part 5 of the Act refers to progress reporting.
Gender impact assessments
Defined entities must undertake a GIA when developing or reviewing any policy, program or service that has a direct and significant impact on the public.
If practicable, defined entities must take into account intersectionality when undertaking GIAs.
In its progress report, defined entities must identify all policies, programs and services that were the subject of a GIA in the relevant period, and report on the actions taken to develop or vary these to promote gender equality.
Defined entities must not identify or report on a policy, program or service if it would disclose confidential or prohibited information. This includes:
- information that, if it were included in a document, would make that document an exempt document within the meaning of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth); or
- information of which the disclosure is prohibited by a provision of another enactment – such as any other existing relevant privacy legislation that may apply to your organisation; or
- information about any other confidential matter. This may include Cabinet in Confidence material for Victorian Public Service departments.
For further advice, organisations should seek legal advice, or contact the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) which also has further information about exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act.
Gender Equality Action Plans
Defined entities must report on the progress they have made in relation to the strategies and measures set out in their GEAP.
Defined entities must ensure adequate resources are allocated to developing and implementing a GEAP. Allocating a specific budget and staffing for your GEAP is a critical means to drive progress in your defined entity.
Workplace gender equality indicators
Defined entities must report on progress made in relation to the workplace gender equality indicators within the relevant period.
A defined entity must make reasonable and material progress in relation to the workplace gender equality indicators.
For the purposes of section 16(1), the Act sets out several factors that the Commissioner must take into account in determining whether a defined entity has made reasonable and material progress. The factors are:
- the size of the organisation, including the number of employees
- the nature and circumstances of the organisation, including any barriers to making progress
- requirements that apply to the organisation under any other Act, including an Act of the Commonwealth
- the organisation’s resources
- the organisation’s operational priorities and competing operational obligations
- the practicability and cost to the organisation of making progress; and
- genuine attempts made by the organisation to make progress.
Submission and publication of progress reports
Defined entities must submit a progress report to the Commissioner on or before:
- 31 October in every second year after submitting a GEAP; or
- any later date specified by the Commissioner.
For the purpose of 2023 progress reporting, the Commissioner has extended the deadline for progress reports. This applies to all defined entities. Progress reports are now due on 20 February 2024.
Defined entities must publish their progress reports on their website as soon as reasonably practicable after it has been submitted to the Commissioner. The Commission interprets ‘website’ to mean a defined entity’s public-facing website.
The Commissioner must keep a register of all submitted progress reports. All submitted progress reports will be published on the Commission’s Insights Portal.