Cr Claudia Haenel: Standing up for equality

Horsham Rural City Councillors recently met with community representatives who have prepared a Community Vision for our municipality.

There was much excitement in the room and so much positivity for our region’s future.

What a wonderful process of openness and transparency to lead us toward 2041. Thank you to all the participants for giving up their time to develop these most important set of recommendations that will ultimately inform our Council Plan.

The Community Vision will go to Council for adoption soon and we hope to look into a regular forum to continue the conversations.

The start of this month saw the 2020 Gender Equality Act become law.

What this means for Victorian workplaces is that the Act’s plans will be put in place to meet the 1 December deadline. Progress audit reports are due by the end of October 2023 and they will show the results and assessments of what we are doing about gender equality in the workplace.

These measures seek to ensure gender equality, diversity and inclusiveness, not just in the workplace but society overall. Local government acts as a role model for the rest of community by showing leadership. This has a direct impact on the public which is significant and important for our community to move forward in this space.

Gender equality needs to be part of our business as usual to create lasting change. Websites provide guidelines for services, with assessments and boxes to tick, making it law to find the necessary resources to get the gender impact assessments done.

It is a priority and law requires all workplaces to perform this, for anything that may have an impact. The Act also recognises that gender is not just two binaries, but multi, meaning we really are all in this together.

As women make up 52 per cent of the population and in line with these advances, the proposed Women’s Serenity Garden project for Horsham would become a memorial for women in our community.

HRCC has allocated a budget of $10,000 to commence planning the project. This will truly be a consultative process with women’s responses informing how it will take shape.

A Serenity Garden would be a place of respite, a safer place and a place of inclusivity for women in our community regardless of race, age, culture, heritage and status. I believe this is wonderful proposal that will be contributed by local government for women, whose equality is now enshrined in law.

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