Next generation firefighters boost workplace diversity

Efforts to diversify the State’s career firefighting force are starting to bear fruit, after a record number of women were selected to take part in the latest Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Trainee Firefighter School.

Fourteen women, 15 men and one non-binary person make up the diverse group of individuals who will start training with Firefighter School 89 on July 25.

The cohort of 30 trainees, who were chosen from more than 1,200 applicants, also includes an Indigenous Australian.

Five months of intense learning awaits the latest group of successful applicants, whose training includes structural, bush and marine firefighting techniques, road crash rescue, emergency driving instruction, hazardous materials response and community safety.

Twelve of the graduates will be based in the regions as part of the State Government’s commitment to bolstering firefighter crews in regional WA.

DFES is seeking to improve diversity outcomes and has introduced a range of recruitment initiatives aimed at unlocking its workforce potential.

They include tailor-made information and equipment sessions which help female applicants familiarise themselves with the testing requirements of the recruitment process.

Recruitment teams have visited schools, career expos and community events to encourage more women to consider a career in firefighting.

DFES has also developed targeted advertising campaigns challenging the stereotypes of firefighting and raising awareness of the rewarding pathway as an occupation for all.

For more information on career firefighting, visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/recruitmentandtraining

 

San Cisco provides local talent at international sports festival

Local Fremantle indie pop band San Cisco will perform as part of the ICON Perth’s Festival of International Football.

San Cisco are a well-known and popular band from Fremantle and will add a local element to this major international sporting event.

The funding provided by the Department Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries is providing further opportunities for local artists to perform.

ICON brings together four of the world’s biggest football teams for two star-studded matches to be played over one big weekend at Optus Stadium.

San Cisco will perform a set during half time of the sold-out Manchester United v Aston Villa match on Saturday.

Throughout their illustrious ten-year career, they have become one of Australia’s most successful independent artists amassing multiple accolades, millions of streams and critical acclaim through the release of four studio albums and have toured the world selling out headline shows and appearing at festivals such as Splendour In The Grass, Lollapalooza, Reading & Leeds, Central Park Summerstage, Pukkelpop and many more.

The Paramount+ live and Network 10 broadcast will include one song from their set.

San Cisco have previously performed at Optus Stadium, featuring in the pre-match entertainment for the 2021 Toyota AFL Preliminary Final.

New training resource to improve safety at family day care services

In 2015, Lachlan Mitchell drowned at a family day care service in suburban Perth just days before his third birthday. The McGowan Government is committed to ensuring safety reform at family day care services, so a tragedy like this never occurs again.

A new online training program has been specifically designed to assist family day care providers to understand their role and requirements when new regulations come into effect.

I would like to acknowledge Lachlan’s mother, Melanie, for her continued advocacy and work in securing these safety outcomes.

Royal Life Saving Society of WA has been at the forefront of water safety for decades, which is why they were commissioned to develop this training program on our behalf as a trusted partner.

The State Government has launched a free online training course which will improve safety at family day care services operating with swimming pools, spas or water features.

The McGowan Government committed to a number of reforms for family day care following recommendations handed down at the completion of the 2018 coronial inquest into the tragic death of two-year-old Lachlan Mitchell, who drowned at a family day care service in 2015.

A transition period was introduced in 2020 to ensure family day care providers and educators had appropriate time to prepare for increased regulatory safety requirements.

Under the updated regulations, which will come into effect later this year, approved providers will be required to undertake monthly inspections of family day care educators operating at residences with swimming pools, spas or water features as part of the improved safety outcomes. Inspections previously occurred on an annual basis.

To support this process, Royal Life Saving WA was commissioned to develop an online training program that offers clear and practical guidance for approved providers to carry out inspections of pools, spas and the outdoor environment.

Further information about the online training course can be found via the Department of Communities website.

State Government steps in to continue funding support for Kimberley Sexual Abuse Prevention and Support Service

The State Government is committed to supporting survivors of child sexual abuse and ensuring they have access to specialist services that help them heal

The State Government has committed funding to extend the Kimberley Sexual Abuse Prevention and Support Service (KSAPSS) operated by Anglicare WA.

KSAPSS offers free counselling to child and adult victims of sexual abuse and assault, providing a safe environment where survivors can work through trauma with highly qualified counsellors.

The Department of Communities (Communities) has secured funding of $643,000 to extend the service for a further 12 months to June 30, 2023.

The service had previously been funded by the Commonwealth Government through the Western Australian Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA). Communities is working with WAPHA and Anglicare WA to enable a smooth transition of funding agreement from WAPHA to Communities.

KSAPSS staff are based in Broome and Kununurra, but also offer outreach travel across the Kimberley for people in remote Aboriginal communities.

The service receives referrals from the Kimberley Joint Response Team, which is a partnership that includes the WA Police Force and Communities, and provides proactive outreach to Kimberley communities to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse.

Approximately 300 people access support services through KSAPSS each year.

I am pleased the State Government has been able to step in to ensure the Kimberley Sexual Abuse Prevention and Support Service can continue for a further 12 months.

In addition to one-on-one counselling, Anglicare WA also provides community education initiatives about sexual abuse, protective behaviours and community safety planning.

In support of our Government’s efforts distributing Rapid Antigen Tests across WA – my office currently has more nasal swab tests to give away. 🐀

If you’re a resident of the Fremantle state electorate, pop into my office  Shop 2, 8-12 Market Street (opposite the Fremantle Post Office) and collect a pack of 20 RATS. Limits are one pack per household while stocks last.

☎️ If you need assistance or have questions, give my team a call on 9336 7000 or email fremantle@mp.wa.gov.au

Grants awarded to attract childcare workers to regional WA

Early childhood education and care services are important not only for children’s socialisation and education, but also to support parents – especially women – to return to work.

We know that regional towns can face greater challenges in finding workers and the choice of early childhood education and care services on offer can be limited, and I’m pleased to see so many local governments applying for and receiving grants that will help bring workers to regional towns.

Local governments across Western Australia have received funding under a $1 million State Government grants program to attract and retain childcare workers in regional WA.

The program, delivered with the support of the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), was established in 2021 to help address the issues faced by early childhood education and care services in regional WA in finding and retaining staff.

After the initial funding round of $250,000 received considerable interest, additional funds were made available.

The funds can be used by regional early childhood education and care services for incentives such as staff training, relocation costs and subsidised accommodation.

Early childhood education and care services can also use the funding to set up traineeships, partnerships with local TAFEs and campaigns to attract more people to take up early childhood education as a career.

Funding can also be used to provide incentives for Aboriginal people to enter the early childhood education and care workforce, and to support staff in undertaking professional development.

The grants program is part of the State Government’s $5.1 million commitment to improve access to early childhood education and care in regional WA.

The McGowan Government has also reduced the course fees for Certificate III and the Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care qualifications with the aim of increasing the supply of early childhood educators across WA.

From funding relocation costs, to subsidising accommodation and paying for education and training, these initiatives will attract childcare workers and ultimately help more parents return to work in their local communities.

These grants are part of a $5.1 million commitment by the State Government to improve access to, and affordability of childcare in regional WA. It’s great for kids and families, and keeps local communities together.

State Government uses buying power to advance gender equality

While significant advances have been made to remove barriers faced by women, there is still a long way to go to bring about lasting solutions and achieve equality for women.

The McGowan Government is using its considerable purchasing power to promote gender equality through a ground-breaking procurement pilot.

This initiative will use the purchasing power of the State Government to ensure companies are playing their part to address gender inequality in the workplace.

Research shows companies with gender diversity are more profitable and productive and have improved employee satisfaction and decision making.

It is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense to support and champion gender equality and I am proud the State Government is taking the lead on this important issue.

Under the Gender Equality in Procurement – WA Public Sector Pilot, a gender equality clause will be introduced into public sector procurement processes, supporting suppliers of goods and services to implement gender equality policies and practices.

WA is the second jurisdiction in Australia, after Victoria, to introduce a gender equality clause in public sector procurement.

15 State Government agencies are participating in the pilot, which will be led by the Department of Communities with support from the Department of Finance.

As part of the pilot, larger suppliers with 100 or more employees will be required to provide a copy of their compliance letter demonstrating that they meet gender equality reporting requirements under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

Suppliers with fewer than 100 employees will be required to answer questions that focus on whether certain policies or initiatives are in place to support a gender equal workplace.

Data provided by the Workforce Gender Equality Agency and the Australian Bureau of Statistics demonstrates that Western Australia continues to have one of the highest gender pay gaps in the country. The pay gap favours full-time working men over full-time working women in every industry and occupational category in the country.

The WA Government is encouraging businesses and organisations of all sizes that participate in government procurement to play their part in creating gender equal workplaces in their everyday operations.

Developing and implementing resources to support the gender equality clause within WA Government procurement is an initiative of the Second Action Plan under the Stronger Together: WA’s Plan for Gender Equality (Stronger Together).

Stronger Together is the first whole-of-government, long-term plan to advance gender equality in WA through four action plans between 2020-2030. Further details on Stronger Together and the Second Action Plan can be viewed on the Department of Communities website.

Ready Check GO Working with Children Check campaign helping to keep kids safe

Children’s sport and rec activities are an integral part of any community.  Apart from the many children who participate, thousands of people are involved as coaches, club or group leaders, officials and volunteers.

Unfortunately, the easy access to children can make these activities a target for predators, and that is why Working with Children Checks play such an important role in keeping children safe.

In the past when sporting and recreational organisations have been found in breach of their obligations, it has often been due to a lack of understanding of their Working with Children Check requirements.

This campaign is a reminder for everyone involved with children’s sport and recreation activities to be aware of their obligations.  The safety of children is everyone’s responsibility.

The Ready, Check, GO! campaign is focused on the sport and recreation sector and encourages organisations, employees, and volunteers to learn about their legal obligations and help them determine when a person needs a Working with Children Check.

The campaign is targeting clubs and associations, coaches, trainers, instructors, and officials who work with children, as well as parents with children involved in sporting and recreational activities.

The Working with Children Check is a screening process for people undertaking paid or unpaid child-related work in Western Australia.

It includes a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check, as well as ongoing collection and assessment of information that is relevant to determine whether a person may present an unacceptable risk of harm to a child, should a person engage in child-related work.

Applications for Working with Children Checks are growing every year.  In the 2020-21 financial year, the Department of Communities received more than 145,000 Working with Children Check applications.

For employees, volunteers, or organisations who breach their obligations under the Working with Children Act, fines of up to $60,000 and five years can jail apply.

Information about the Working with Children Check can be found at www.workingwithchildren.wa.gov.au

 

Major boost for workplace mental health and mines safety

Sexual violence is not something anyone should be exposed to, let alone in the workplace. However, it is a harsh reality that it is a problem across many industries.

As Minister for Women’s Interests, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Elizabeth Shaw on a number of occasions and have great confidence in her credentials on gender equality.

The appointment of an independent expert to examine the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s processes for handling these incidents will be invaluable and help drive the change that is required.

It is vital that mine sites are places women want to work and where they will feel safe, but it is also worth noting that companies with greater diversity are more profitable and productive.

The McGowan Government has announced two major workplace initiatives that will further support the health and safety of Western Australian workers.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston has appointed an independent expert to review the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) protocols for responding to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the mining industry.

Elizabeth Shaw, who specialises in diversity, inclusion, culture and change at PwC Australia, will review DMIRS’ enforcement model, organisational capabilities and regulatory responses to these incidents on mine sites. Review findings are expected to be delivered in late 2022.

The McGowan Government has also announced the successful applicants for the Mentally Healthy Workplaces Grant program.

The WA Centre for Rural Health, South West Aboriginal Medical Service, Juniper and People Diagnostix, and Pivot Support Services will share around $500,000 in funding per year.

Grant applicants were offered $175,000 per year for up to four years for initiatives that promote and support the positive aspects of work and worker wellbeing.

As part of the McGowan Government’s $8.4 million Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety (MARS) program, two further initiatives targeting mining workplaces were also approved.

A joint project between the Australian Institute of Health & Safety and PerMentis (FIFO Focus), and Lifeline WA’s Resourceful Mind program will share $350,000 in total funding per year.

The MARS program is a multi-agency collaboration between DMIRS, the Mental Health Commission, Department of Communities and the Equal Opportunity Commission. It aims to boost responses to mental health, workplace culture and safety in WA’s mining sector.

For more information on the MARS program, visit: Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety (MARS) Program (www.wa.gov.au)

For more information on the Mentally Healthy Workplaces Grant Program, visit: https://www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/dmirs/mentally-healthy-workplaces-grant-program

 

Funding boost to help shape future female Aboriginal leaders

The Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, based in Fitzroy Crossing, will benefit from a $300,000 grant to help develop female Aboriginal leaders of the future.

The State Government funding will provide and promote opportunities for young people and senior women to undertake cultural training together, enabling the next generation to maintain a strong connection to culture and country.

It will be used to create a full-time position to co-ordinate regional women’s law and cultural events, contribute to on country camps for women and girls, and enable the creation of women’s law spaces.

The funding supports the implementation of key priorities of the Kimberley Aboriginal Women’s Strategic Plan (KAWSP) for language, law and culture.

This includes preserving law and culture on country and actively passing on knowledge to future cultural practitioners and leaders.

The funding is also expected to aid the alignment of the KAWSP to Stronger Together: WA’s Plan for Gender Equality and the Aboriginal Family Safety Strategy.

Stronger Together is the first whole-of-government, long-term plan to advance gender equality in Western Australia and is being led by the Department of Communities through four action plans between 2020-2030. The second action plan includes five focus areas to guide the work of Government across the next four years, and includes a specific focus on Aboriginal women’s leadership.

I congratulate the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre on bringing together voices from across the region to develop this plan for Aboriginal women in the Kimberley.

This funding will provide an important kick-start to some of the key priorities identified in the Kimberley Aboriginal Women’s Strategic Plan for language, law and culture.

It is crucial that initiatives to support Aboriginal women to fulfil their potential as leaders in our communities are designed for and led by Aboriginal women.

It is important for women living in remote communities to have support and to identify their needs around language, law and culture, especially so it can be passed onto the next generation of young girls and women.