“Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has mandated 50 per cent of board positions on state-owned corporations will be held by women by 2020 – and has called on the private sector to follow suit.
Ms Palaszczuk said Cabinet had endorsed the affirmative action position at a Cabinet meeting on Monday, saying it was the only way to ensure women were adequately represented around the board room table.
“I’m firmly committed to addressing the inequality that we see in government boards but more broadly than that across the spectrum,” Ms Palaszczuk said after speaking at an Australian Institute of Company Directors lunch in Brisbane on Tuesday.
“I believe if we are championing equality in Queensland, then the government needs to set the example. And that is why by 2020 I would like to see a target of 50 per cent of women on government boards in this state.”
Ms Palaszczuk is the second female premier of Queensland following Anna Bligh from 2007 to 2012. More than half of her 14-member Cabinet is women, including Deputy Premier Jack Trad and Education Minister Kate Jones.
She said she hoped the minority Labor government’s position would force the private sector to act. There are currently only 20 per cent of women on the boards of S&P/ASX 200 companies, according to the AICD.
It said the percentage of women on boards of the top companies has doubled over the past five years but there were still 30 companies in the S&P/ASX 200 who did not have any women on their boards.
Across the broader stock exchange the figure of women on boards is about 15 per cent, with a total of 184 boards who still do not have any women.
Ms Palaszczuk said the move to have a target of 50 per cent of women on the boards of the state’s 13 government-owned corporations – which include energy companies Energex, Ergon Energy and Powerlink as well as port and water assets – would force the private sector to act.
“We are hopeful the private sector will follow suit,” she said.
The federal Coalition government has been criticised for only having two women in his ministry, including Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Health Minister Susan Ley, when they account for about 30 per cent of federal MPs.”