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Women - Womens Strategy

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 9 September 2021

Tags: Women, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you. I'm interested in exploring with you, minister, and I'm sorry if this was answered earlier and I missed it. What might the elements be of the new Tasmanian Women's Strategy? As a former minister for women who delivered, I think it was the first women's strategy but I'm not 100 per cent sure, how has it evolved over the past 10 years or so, what are the contemporary issues that you think need to be in a modern women's strategy and also, will there be anything in the strategy about countering some of the online abuse that women receive and that in fact young women can receive quite a lot of?

Ms HOWLETT - I totally agree with you. That's something we have started consulting on with stakeholders and we will continue to consult with key stakeholders, as well as women out there in the community as well. That strategy will be developed, it will be launched in December and I would like members to be part of that and hear your information, as I stated before. We have already had meetings with key stakeholders. The feedback is diverse when you get out there and talk to people, and talk to children as well.

I spent quite a bit of time working with Colony 47 at Colville House particularly; I've also been to Mara House, but it's interesting talking to the children in there and hearing their stories and how we can get them out of that terrible situation at home and how we can provide employment or financial security for the mother so she's out of that violent situation that she's in at home. There's so many things that we can do. There's so much that needs to be done, but it's interesting the stories that you hear. It's very distressing.

Ms O'CONNOR - Some of them are quite harrowing, that's right.

Ms HOWLETT - Very, very distressing.

Ms O'CONNOR - I am looking for some pointers from you because we're now in September and the strategy's coming out in December, and maybe this is something the deputy secretary could speak about, but how does the agency or the women's policy unit see that women's policy and the women's strategy itself needs to have evolved over the past decade? What are those elements, because we had equality and empowerment, obviously which would be in a new women's strategy, but are there emerging issues for women that may be in the strategy? Are there things that we need to look at differently or do differently from what we were doing 10 years ago?

Ms HOWLETT - Absolutely, we do need to do things differently and I will hand you over to Ms Kent, but we know financial security is important. We know the superannuation issue is out there. We know housing is an issue.

Ms O'CONNOR - Homelessness.

Ms HOWLETT - Homelessness is an issue, particularly for women over 50. We know there are many issues out there. We are doing some good things, but there is a lot more work to be done. I take developing this strategy very seriously, and it does need to evolve. It can't be what it was 10 years ago. The world is a different place.

Ms O'CONNOR - Not different enough yet for women and girls.

Ms HOWLETT - We are getting there.

Ms KENT - You have covered most of the issues. The Tasmanian Women's Council are engaged in this process, and in the discussions that they have had over the last few months, their strong focus is on what they think are the key issues that we should develop further. Financial security and education of financial knowledge, leadership and participation are still ongoing things. Training development and mentoring keeps coming back as key. Parenting education has been a strong focus; some members of the Women's Council are involved in that sector and have younger women involved in that sector as well - both early years and the aged sector - and see the workforce in there. And, cultural change. They are the themes that they see the strategy developing under.

Their next outline is really about looking through all of those community sector stakeholders. Over the next few months they want to be consulting across a long list of sectors that are all involved in that. As the minister said, they were keen for it to be seen as a very collaborative approach and are happy to share that here.

Ms O'CONNOR - Obviously, women are diverse and complex as the broader human population. What specific attention is being paid to women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, women living with disability and transgender women?

Ms KENT - When I look at the list of the stakeholders that they drew up, they particularly talked about linking in with sector groups as well - not trying to duplicate what is already happening in many of those areas with bodies such as the multicultural reference group, the LGBTIQ+ reference group, women with disabilities, through the Premier's Disability Advisory Council, veterans and their families - with an increasing number of women in that sector - and others, as well as all the peak bodies that we work closely with, such as COTA, YNOT, MCOT, TasCOSS, Volunteering Tasmania, and women in a broad range of economic sectors, such as all the emerging ones, women in non-traditional areas as well as in the more traditional women's workplaces. With an emphasis on the link between early years in education as well.