The Commission has a small team of experienced Community Education Officers who raise awareness about equal opportunity and human rights and legal obligations and 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
- A Service Delivery Agreement with the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to build capacity and provide community education training for the residents of the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT).
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 to 52 sessions in the 2016-17 year compared to the previous year’s total of 36 sessions. Participants in mixed profile training and organisation training have been from the public sector, private enterprise and community organisations.
The Commission is reviewing and updating 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 Fee for service sessions include:
- Introduction to Equal Opportunity Law with a number of government organisations
- Developing and Maintaining Positive Workplace Cultures was delivered to the majority of staff in one government organisation, and to an entire section of another large department
- EO Essential for Managers and Supervisors, and Grievance Officer training was delivered in Perth and Karratha
- Equity Awareness was held with government employees and contractors working as security officers, customer service officers and others in an organisation which have frequent contact with Aboriginal people and recently arrived migrants and refugees
- EO Essentials for Managers and Supervisors was delivered to government and private sector employees in Perth and the South West.
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 groups such as migrants, refugees, Aboriginal people, people with disability and others who may not be aware of the protections available under the Act, or their obligations to behave respectfully towards others. There was also a trial of sessions for small business owners through the Regional Chamber of Commerce to acquaint them with rights and obligations.
The number of rights based sessions delivered in 2016-17 in Perth, regional WA, and the Indian Ocean Territories totalled 98 sessions, compared to 105 sessions in 2015-16.
Standard rights based sessions have continued throughout the year and have included:
- Equal Opportunity Law Awareness sessions conducted with primary and secondary as well as TAFE and university students in Mirrabooka, Nedlands, East Perth, Duncraig, Joondalup and Leederville
- Sexual Harassment - Know Where the Line Is sessions conducted with tertiary students and university support staff in Nedlands
- Equal Opportunity Law Awareness sessions conducted with Midlands Men’s Shed, Moora Chamber of Commerce, MercyCare, Community and Public-Sector Union, Community Legal Centres in the Pilbara, Southwest and Mandurah, and the Health Consumers’ Council, as well as Aboriginal organisations in Esperance, Merredin, Moora, Northam, Fairbridge (Pinjarra), and Roebourne.
With the cooperation of the Department of Corrective Services, the Community Education team visited a number of prisons in the metropolitan and regional areas, including Greenough Regional Prison, Bunbury Regional Prison, Roebourne Regional Prison, Bandyup Women's Prison and the Wooroloo Prison Farm. 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. Prisons 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 Department of Corrective Services in Perth respectively.
Equal Opportunity in Sport
In 2016-17 the Commission continued its long-standing partnership with the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) and the West Australian Sports Federation (WASF) by:
- Its participation in the WA Fair Safe Sport Reference Group along with other members the Department for Child Protection, WA Police, DSR and WASF with the aim to build the capacity of state sports associations and their affiliated clubs to establish and maintain safe and fair clubs
- Facilitation of the National Member Protection Information Officer Course conducting, two one-day metropolitan workshops and two half day regional workshops in Geraldton and Bunbury
- 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.