The Commission has a small team of experienced community education officers who raise awareness about equal opportunity, human rights and legal obligations to promote the adoption of best practice models through:
- Organisational training
- Community education on equal opportunity and human rights
- Working with stakeholder groups on specific projects
- Community development work with communities that have specific needs, such as new and emerging migrant and refugee groups
Fee for service training
Training which is provided on a fee for service basis is in two categories. Mixed profile training is where courses are publicly advertised and participants may come from a range of organisations. Customised training is where an organisation requests a course exclusively for its staff and the course is adapted to meet the needs of the organisation.
Requests for fee for service training increased by over 50% to 82 sessions in the 2017-18 year, compared to the previous year’s total of 52 sessions. Participants in fee for service, and mixed profile training were drawn from public sector organisations, and in particular local government, the private sector and from community organisations.
The Commission has reviewed and updated training material to ensure course content remains relevant and is investigating new ways to provide whole-of-organisation training based on a model that it hopes will prove strategic in developing workplace cultures that are inclusive and free of discriminatory practices.
Examples of organisation sessions include:
- Introduction to Equal Opportunity Law - delivered in 17 sessions to regional local government authority
- EO Essentials for Managers and Supervisors - delivered to middle managers in a remote regional centre
- Harassment & Bullying - delivered as a whole of agency package in 12 sessions to a regional area, and to some public sector organisations in Perth
- Developing and Maintaining Positive Workplace Cultures
- EO Essential for Managers and Supervisors, and Grievance Officer
- Equity Awareness
Rights based education
The Commission delivered rights based sessions throughout the year to community groups, not for profit associations and other bodies, which do not have a budget to pay for training services. Rights based training serves a valuable function in educating minority groups including Aboriginal people, people with disability, migrants, refugees, and others who may not be aware of the protections available under the Act, or their obligations towards others.
The number of rights based sessions delivered in 2017-18 in Perth, regional WA, totalled 100 sessions, compared to 65 sessions in 2016-17 increase of 53.8%.
Standard rights based sessions have continued throughout the year and have included:
- Equal Opportunity Law Awareness sessions were conducted with agencies including the Bega Gambirringu Health Service, Carnarvon Aboriginal Medical Service, Curtin University students, Meekatharra Medical Service
- Sexual Harassment - Know Where the Line Is – sessions were conducted with UWA, St Catherine College UWA, tertiary students and university support staff in Nedlands.
With the cooperation of the Department of Justice (Corrective Services), the community education team visited a number of prisons in the metropolitan and regional areas, including the West Kimberley Regional Prison (Derby) and Greenough Regional Prison.
These prison visits allowed Commission staff to deliver tailored Equal Opportunity Law Awareness sessions with individual cohorts within the prisons, such as prisoners, prison officers and peer support. Prisoners were informed of their rights under the legislation and provided with an opportunity to raise issues of concern. Prison officers were provided with advice on their obligations under the Act, as well as their rights to work in an environment free of harassment and discrimination.
Individual and systemic issues of concern were relayed, subject to prisoner consent, to the prison superintendent or Corrective Services in Perth respectively.
Equal Opportunity in Sport
In 2017-18 the Commission continued its long-standing partnership with the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) and the West Australian Sports Federation (WASF) by:
- Facilitation of the National Member Protection Information Officer Course conducting two one-day metropolitan workshops
- Continued sponsorship of the Australian Sports Commission’s Play by the Rules website
- Being a point of contact for sports associations and clubs for enquiries relating to discrimination law.
Outreach program in Regional WA
The Commission has a state-wide mandate to reach regional areas and has a three-year plan which aims to cover four regions each year. Two of these trips involve two community education officers travelling to the more distant regions for approximately a week. Regions closer to the metropolitan area may involve a two or three-day round-trip.
Each trip involves a mixture of fee for service and rights based sessions.
The Commission is also contracted from time to time by organisations to provide onsite fee for service training in regional and remote areas. This has assisted the Commission to undertake trips additional to the regional plan, and, where possible, to conduct additional training, networking and community development activities in these regions.
In July 2018 community education officers travelled to Broome and Derby to provide Equal Opportunity Essentials for Managers and Contact/Grievance Officer training sessions at North Regional TAFE.
While in the region they also provided rights based education meetings with the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service, Kimberley Disability Advocacy Service in Broome and West Kimberley Regional Prison.
All sessions were well attended. To try and increase participation of staff unable to travel long distances to the training venue in Broome, video conferencing was used in two of the TAFE sessions.
Community education officers travelled to Kalgoorlie in October providing fee for service and community education and outreach to community groups and workplaces in the area.
Fee for service courses were conducted with the Golden Mile Milling Pty Ltd, as well as meetings and rights based education with Aboriginal organisations such as the Goldfields Land and Sea Council, Aboriginal Legal Service and Bega Garnbirringu Health Service.
The Commission also continued its collaborative work with the Department of Justice. Equal Opportunity Law Awareness courses were conducted with prison staff and inmates at the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison.
This was the fourth regional prison in which education and outreach was held in 2017.
Geraldton and the Gascoyne
In March 2018 the community education team spent a week in the Gascoyne region providing community education and outreach to groups in Carnarvon, Meekatharra, Gascoyne Junction, Cue, Mount Magnet and Geraldton.
This has been a region from which fewer enquiries and complaints have been received, and the outreach aimed to raise awareness about rights and availability of remedies to alleged matters of unlawful discrimination.