The Victorian public service and construction sector must work to bring in more female leaders to drive the state’s major infrastructure projects, according to Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas.
The Victorian Major Projects Leadership Academy was established in 2018 to build project delivery skills in the public sector.
This year, the academy has expanded to become the Australian Major Projects Leadership Academy, with the 2020 class set to begin 12 months of studies.
A third of this year’s AMPLA cohort is female. Pallas hopes to boost this to 50% by 2021.
He has called on the industry to work together to see more women secure senior positions in the sector.
“Across Australia, we particularly want to see more young women enter engineering and construction, and we want to support them into leadership roles,” he said in a speech on Thursday.
“Women still make up just 12% of the engineering workforce, and only 2% of Australian construction.
“That means two things: we’re missing out on key talent, and women are missing out on working in a great industry.”
He noted that Victoria has been striving to break down barriers for women in the public sector, with its Gender Equality Bill, which was introduced to parliament last November.
The laws would require state public service organisations and local governments to publicly report on their progress against targets — ranging from equal pay, to sexual harassment, and career-progression practices — every two years.
A gender equality commissioner would be established to work with departments and agencies to develop the key indicators for reporting, along with four-year action plans. There would be penalties for those that do not comply.
In October the government also launched the Women in Construction Strategy, which Pallas said would “change the culture in construction workplaces”.
“It’s 2020. There’s absolutely no reason why these jobs should continue to be dominated by blokes,” he said.
“Women aren’t just missing out on opportunities, we’re also missing out on unearthing the very best talent. It has to change.”
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