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Gender on the agenda as State Government acts on diversity

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Public sector employees can now voluntarily update their personal diversity information, not only to include their background and disability status but also their gender identity.

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Public Service Commission chief executive Robert Setter said the move would help the government better understand its workforce and “help ensure we implement the right programs for our employees”.

“All Queensland public sector agencies have implemented new diversity definitions to use more inclusive and contemporary language to describe diverse groups within our workforce, and to align to national standards and the Queensland public sector’s Inclusion and Diversity Strategy,” Setter told InQueensland.

The move, which came into effect on Monday, will also help the government meet its diversity targets, particularly if any of the one in four people who have not previously provided their full profile by other means add to the diversity of the public sector.

The latest Queensland workforce data revealed the proportion of people with a disability in the public sector (2.83 per cent) was below the target set for 2022 (eight per cent), as was the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (2.49 per cent compared to a target of three per cent). Queensland was already meeting its targets for women in leadership positions and people from a non-English speaking background.

Gender diversity is being embraced by the Palaszczuk government on a community-wide basis, with Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman set to release a discussion paper on making regulations under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act more open to trans and gender diverse people.

A roundtable to provide a confidential briefing to key stakeholders on the progress on reforms was postponed due to current COVID-19 restrictions and will be be rescheduled in the coming weeks ahead of the release of the discussion paper.

The government is also due to appoint a Special Commissioner for Equity and Diversity, having changed legislation in September to create the new position, which was approved by Cabinet two years ago.

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