01 November, 2022

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:29): 

In the 2021-22 annual report, the equal opportunity commissioner has called for a review into harassment in South Australia's hospitality industry. While a range of industry bodies have signalled they would be open to a review taking place, they are not prepared to fund such a review, particularly at a time when the hospitality industry is struggling with rising costs and labour shortages, and still recovering from the disruption of the COVID pandemic.

It is expected that a review into discrimination, abuse and sexual harassment in the hospitality industry would uncover significant under-reporting of such incidents, with young people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds at most risk of being exploited or harassed. My questions to the Attorney-General are:

1. Has the Attorney-General read the 2021-22 annual report of the office of the equal opportunity commissioner?

2. Has the Attorney-General met with the commissioner to discuss the concerns raised in the annual report?

3. Does the Attorney-General agree that it is his responsibility, as Minister for Industrial Relations, to work with agencies to achieve fair, equitable and productive workplaces?

4. Will the government commit to such a review, recommended by the equal opportunity commissioner?


The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:31): 

I thank the honourable member for her question and her interest in this area. In relation to questions the honourable member asked about meeting with the equal opportunity commissioner to discuss issues raised in the annual report and other issues, I can inform the honourable member that I have regular meetings with the equal opportunity commissioner.

I haven't had a meeting since the report was tabled, but I have certainly read the report the honourable member refers to, and I pay tribute to the commissioner for the very important work she does in her role, as well as to commissioners who have gone before in their roles, particularly when it comes to looking at making workplaces safe and free from harassment.

I am aware that the commissioner is interested in various sectors in the community. In the past the commissioner has looked at workplace cultures, including a review of harassment in the parliamentary workplace. The commissioner has also looked at it in legal settings, and I know the commissioner has an interest in looking at a number of areas. I support the work of the commissioner, and if the commissioner requires extra funding for particular projects the commissioner is looking to undertake, that is something that is able to be discussed.