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Vic Gov mandate to increase female construction participation

Female participation in the building and construction sector is set to increase from 2022 onwards following a new mandate introduced by the Victorian government.

Industry groups have welcomed moves to recruit more women to construction roles, but urged additional efforts towards retaining them

The mandate, dubbed the Building Equality Policy (BEP) aims to increase female representation and diversity in the historically male-dominated construction industry.

Set to come into effect from January 1, the BEP will require that women be working in at least three per cent of trade roles, seven per cent of non-trade positions and 35 per cent of all management, supervisor and specialist labour roles on all new government projects.

Four per cent of all labour hours for apprentices and trainees will also be required to be performed by women under the BEP.

The BEP forms part of the Andrews’ government’s wider medium- and long-term actions from the Women in Construction Strategy 2019–22 where $3.5 million has been invested to implement the policy.

Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan says the construction sector will benefit from increased female representation.

“We need to make women aware that construction is an attractive and viable career option – and these targets will ensure women are proactively included and stay in the industry, with stronger career pathways,” says Allan.

The announcement has been welcomed by industry bodies such as Master Builders Victoria (MBV), however, they also suggested female retention in the sector must also improve.

“More women are active in building and construction now than in the past, but they still make up just 2.5 per cent of all building and construction trades workers in Victoria,” says MBV chief executive Rebecca Casson.

“Our sector must change if it is to reduce skills shortages and have a thriving and sustainable future.”

The BEP requirements are being introduced through the state’s Social Procurement Framework for works valued at $20 million or more.

Victoria’s Building Industry Consultative Council has collaborated on the development of the BEP and will provide support for the industry to better understand its obligations and ensure compliance with the policy.

A two-year transition period for employers will be enacted before action on non-compliance commences in 2024.

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