Equal Employment Opportunity Annual Report – 1988 Preamble

The Reserve Bank became subject to the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act on 1 July 1987.

The Bank announced a formal commitment to equal employment opportunity (EEO) in a circular to staff in May 1984 and initiated a wide-ranging review of its personnel policies and practices. An EEO programme was developed along lines which had been endorsed by the Commonwealth Government for the public service. A full-time co-ordinator of EEO was appointed and a committee was established to oversee the development of policy across the Bank.

Policy Statements

A further policy statement was issued to staff in September 1985 outlining the Bank's major objectives and the responsibilities and structures which had been put in place. An information leaflet for staff issued in December 1986 also made specific reference to disadvantaged groups and sought staff support for the Bank's EEO initiatives in this area. A separate policy statement on sexual harassment had been issued in 1984; in 1986 the Bank reaffirmed its position and backed this with an awareness training programme.

Programme Development

A two-year EEO plan was drawn up and accepted by the Bank in October 1985. An early objective was to raise the awareness and understanding among staff of EEO principles and to enlist the active co-operation of staff. Between October 1985 and June 1986, almost three-quarters of staff participated in awareness training sessions where the main topics covered were:

  • definition of EEO;
  • understanding discrimination and its results;
  • rights and responsibilities under EEO;
  • the Bank's EEO programme.

Special training sessions for Personnel Officers were conducted during 1986 and EEO sessions were developed for in-house training courses conducted on a regular basis.

The personnel data available to the Bank was found to be inadequate for EEO monitoring purposes. While some upgrading was possible, it was judged that a statistical survey, modelled on the Australian Public Service Equal Employment Opportunity Survey, was needed. In consultation with unions, survey forms and promotional material were developed, along with arrangements for detailed analysis of the resulting information.

Reviews of Personnel Policies and Practices

A new manual of recruitment policies and procedures, conforming with EEO principles, was developed. Advertising procedures were altered to avoid the possibility of discrimination against members of designated groups (a longstanding restriction on the age of recruits had been abandoned in 1985).

In 1984 the Bank relaxed its requirements regarding the physical fitness of recruits to the permanent staff. This enhanced employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Unions were consulted on formal grievance review procedures. A pilot course in English language training was also introduced.