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MEDIA RELEASE: Specialised services for women experiencing sexual harassment left with next to nothing in Budget

Working Women’s Centres – the first point of contact for women experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace – received just $200,000 in the Federal Budget.  


“We are experts in preventing and addressing workplace sexual harassment and violence through one-on-one support, training and advocacy. The NT and QLD Working Women’s Centres are experiencing a funding crisis, yet only $200,000 was delivered in the Federal Budget. This represents only interim funding. How long can we wait for funding certainty?” said Nicki Petrou, Director of the Working Women’s Centre NT.


“Despite our long and proud history of supporting women workers and advocating for fairer and safer workplaces, we continue to battle for funding to keep our doors open.


“This is a huge missed opportunity for the Prime Minister to show a commitment to tackling workplace sexual violence. There is a massive unmet need for our services. Funding Working Women’s Centres is an easy, immediate and tangible solution for the prevention of sexual violence and provision of direct specialist support to women across Australia.


“In 2016, the Queensland Working Women’s Centre was defunded by the federal government and in 2020 we lost funding for the NT Working Women’s Centre. This Government has not provided any funding certainty in the Budget. This is disappointing to working women across Australia who are in desperate need of support.


“The Working Women’s Centre model is world-leading. We are the backbone of the struggle against workplace sexual harassment and violence. The voices of working women have not been heard. Survivors all over the country are speaking out, yet the “women’s budget” doesn’t adequately support survivors of sexual violence in the workplace. Scott Morrison has failed working women.”


“A key recommendation of the Respect@Work report – Recommendation 49 – was to fund Working Women’s Centres in every Australian state and territory. This is because our world-leading model is proven. Working Women’s Centres allow women to access free information and advice from specialist services when they experience sexual harassment at work,” said Nikky Candy, Director of the Working Women’s Centre SA.


“When a woman experiences sexual harassment at work they face very complex, personal choices. Being armed with the facts about their options empowers them at a time when they are incredibly vulnerable. Women should not have to make a decision between their safety and economic livelihood. This funding decision will leave vulnerable women even more vulnerable.”


“The Prime Minister has failed the test when it comes to tackling sexual violence in the workplace, especially for women in the NT who face the prospect of being left without specialised support in a matter of months. Funding the NT and QLD centres would have cost approximately $1.4 million per year, but instead, the government has only provided $200,000 in the budget to be split across both Centres.


“This $200,000 is not enough to save the NT Working Women’s Centre, which faces the prospect of closure after 1 July 2021. Both the NT and QLD Working Women’s Centres will have to turn away women in need of support and representation.”


“We are a much needed safety net for all Australian women to be supported at work. The government agreed with Recommendation 49 in their Roadmap to Respect, but has not yet done what is required to save the Working Women’s Centres,” said Fiona Hunt, Director of the QLD Working Women’s Centre.



WWC QLD Director – Fiona Hunt

WWC NT Director – Nicki Petrou

WWC SA Director – Nikki Candy


Notice of press conference


Senate Courtyard, Australian

 Parliament House


WHAT: Lawyers and advocates respond to defunding of Working Women’s Centres
WHEN: 11:15AM

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

WHO: Nicki Petrou, Working Women’s Centre NT Director

Fiona Hunt, Working Women’s Centre QLD Director

WHERE: Senate Courtyard

Australian Parliament House, Canberra



Nicki Petrou, WWC QLD Director

Fiona Hunt,WWC NT Director

Nikki Candy, WWC SA Director

Junior Advocacy Officer – POC Placement Program

We are partnering with Democracy in Colour to offer an opportunity for a person of colour to join the Working Women’s Centre team in this Junior Advocacy Officer position and develop their advocacy skills. This is a participant role in Democracy in Colour’s POC Placement Program – an on-the-job training program for campaigners of colour.


This program is about finding emerging campaigners of colour, supporting their talent, and pushing organisations to centre their voices for real, lasting change. It places emerging leaders in paid campaigning roles in advocacy NGOs alongside a training and mentoring program run by Democracy in Colour. As part of the program, the successful applicant will work within WWCSA, and spend on average a half day per week participating in training and professional development as part of the placement program.



The Working Women’s Centre SA Inc is a not-for-profit organisation that provides an industrial service to vulnerable working women and others.  The Centre was established in 1979 and has been advising, supporting and advocating for vulnerable women and migrant workers for 40 years.  The Centre provides support, advice, information and representation to women who face issues in their employment in both federal and state jurisdictions.

The Centre is also concerned with the structural inequalities for women in the workplace, and conducts outreach, community education and advocacy for the equal participation of women in the workforce and community. Current key focuses of the Working Women’s Centre include precarious work, sexual harassment, wage theft, women in male-dominated industries and the impact of COVID-19 on young women.



Young people, especially young women, have been disproportionately impacted by the enduring effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The South Australian Government has provided a one-off grant allocation to the Working Women’s Centre SA Inc to inform the development of effective policy and practice responses to the unique employment-related needs of young women (12 – 30 years old) in the wake of COVID-19. We have already begun working on a project enhancing and creating secure employment opportunities for young women (12 – 30 years old) in response to COVID-19. The successful applicant for this role will take responsibility for rolling out the rest of the project.

The Junior Advocacy Officer will work primarily on issues facing women under 30, with a focus on temporary visa holders, First Nations women and women from low socioeconomic groups.



This is a full-time (35 hours per week) 12-month term contract position.

Employment conditions are specified in the Working Women’s Centre Inc Enterprise Agreement 2018. Presently, the Junior Advocacy Officer role is not set out in the Enterprise Agreement. The Enterprise Agreement is due for renewal and the classification will be added.

The position is based at the Working Women’s Centre in Adelaide SA but requires the capacity to undertake regional and remote travel occasionally. Some out of hours work is required.

Benefits include the following:

  • Competitive salary $60,000
  • Generous salary sacrifice options
  • 12.0% superannuation
  • Flexible workplace
  • 35-hour week (plus reasonable overtime stipulated in the EBA)
  • TOIL entitlements
  • Weekly training and professional development through the Democracy in Colour POC Placement Program


We encourage applications from all cis and trans women, as well as non-binary people who are comfortable working on advocacy that focuses on the experiences of young women.

The successful applicant will be required to get a working with vulnerable people check if successful.

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to get in contact with the Director Abbey Kendall at


To apply, please fill out this application form, attaching a cover letter and CV.

Applications close at 5pm on Thursday 18th of March, 2021.

We’re Hiring! Senior Advocacy Officer

Work type: Permanent Full time (35 hours)
Sector – Not for Profit
Location – Adelaide
The Working Women’s Centre SA Inc is a not-for-profit organisation that provides an industrial service to vulnerable working women and people. The Centre was established in 1979 and has been advising, supporting and advocating for vulnerable women for 40 years. The Centre provides support, advice, information and representation to women who face issues in their employment in both federal and state jurisdictions. The Centre is also concerned with the structural inequalities for women in the workplace, and conducts outreach, community education, and campaigning for the equal participation of women in the workforce and community.

The position is subject to ongoing funding.

Employment conditions are specified in the Working Women’s Centre SA Inc Enterprise Agreement 2018. Presently, the Senior Advocacy Officer role is not set out in the Enterprise Agreement. The Enterprise Agreement is due for renewal and the classification will be added. Some out of hours work is required.

Competitive salary $86,963.00
Salary Sacrifice available
12.0% superannuation
Flexible workplace
35-hour week (plus reasonable overtime stipulated in the EBA)
TOIL entitlements
Enhance women and vulnerable people’s participation in and contribution to workplace arrangements that improve their economic prosperity and welfare.
Increase women and vulnerable people’s knowledge of the legal, policy, and institutional frameworks that promote workplace reform, including employment conditions, and fair and efficient arrangements for remuneration and safe work.
Provide a safety net of industrial relations related services to women and vulnerable people who are otherwise unable to access them to enable them to participate effectively in the labour force.
Enhance work-related services provided by other organisations to women and vulnerable people.
The Senior Advocacy Officer is responsible to the Director. The role will require supervision of junior advocacy officers and volunteers to the Centre. The role will require the Senior Advocacy Officer to lead, in conjunction with the Director, campaigns and advocacy projects that relate to the Centre’s objectives. Presently the Centre is engaged in advocacy and campaigning projects on the following issues:

The impact of COVID-19 on young women in South Australia;
Wage Theft;
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace;
The intersection of women’s economic security, precarious work, and family violence;
Increasing the participation of women in male-dominated and non-traditional roles including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

we're hiring

We’re hiring! Graduate Junior Industrial Officer role

The Working Women’s Centre has recently secured funding from the Fair Work Ombudsman and we are looking for a full-time Graduate Junior Industrial Officer to join our growing team! Apply before the 25th of January.

Competitive salary $60,000.00
12% superannuation
Flexible workplace
35-hour week (plus reasonable overtime stipulated in the EBA)
TOIL entitlements
A Junior Industrial Officer’s duties are as follows:
Support Senior Industrial Officers to provide information and industrial advice to vulnerable people who are primarily not members of unions and who do not have their own lawyer.
Provide industrial and legal advice across a wide range of federal and state legislation concerning industrial and employment matters.
Support Senior Industrial Officers to represent clients in conciliation, arbitration, and court hearings with respect to industrial claims and disputes.
Work closely with the Director and Senior Industrial Officers on other tasks as required.

The successful candidate will have:
A legal qualification and eligibility to be admitted to practise in South Australia.
An introductory understanding of the Australian Industrial Relations system and workplace law.
An understanding of the role of the Fair Work Act2009 and Fair Work Regulations 2009.
A commitment to principles of unionism
A commitment to gender equity and feminist politics.
Demonstrated abilities in negotiation and conflict resolution.
Demonstrated high level written and oral communication skills.
Exceptional time management skills and demonstrated ability to prioritise tasks.
A demonstrated commitment to the principles of justice and worker’s rights.
Understanding of gender politics and the intersection with labour/employment policy

we are hiring a junior industrial officer

MEDIA RELEASE: Women in hi-vis

The 2020-21 state budget includes significant funding for infrastructure, including social infrastructure for hospitals and schools. Investing in our infrastructure in health and education sectors is beneficial for women, who make up the majority of workers in these sectors.

Increased funding towards traineeships and apprenticeships is another positive. The budget includes funding for 750 new traineeships and apprenticeships in government agencies and funded projects.

Young women are experiencing high levels of unemployment and underemployment. Women are more likely to be precariously employed, and direct funding towards traineeships and apprenticeships will help young people and women to gain secure work.

It is essential that the new infrastructure jobs and apprenticeships are equally distributed. The infrastructure push will lead to more jobs in construction and other traditionally male-dominated sectors. The government must develop a strategy to ensure that a greater proportion of those jobs go to women.

Working Women’s Centre Director Abbey Kendall said:

Let’s make sure that women as well as men are wearing hi-vis on these new big construction sites. Let’s make sure that women have an equal chance at a cyber-security traineeship as they do in the disability and aged care sector. It will require a targeted government strategy to avoid women being left behind in what could be a bloke-heavy infrastructure push.’

‘Likewise, the government needs a strategy for ensuring that an equal share of these new apprenticeships are going to young women. Jobs created through the funding boost for our national parks and reserves should go to First Nations people, young people and women in regional areas who are experiencing particularly high rates of unemployment. This is the time to reimagine the way we work.’

Working Women’s Centre Youth Project Officer Maddie Sarre said:

‘We’re hearing from so many young women that they are struggling to find secure work at the moment. The majority of them are open to starting a new career. This infrastructure and training push is the perfect opportunity to make sure young women have better access to tradie jobs.’


Media contacts:

Abbey Kendall, Director & Maddie Sarre, Youth Project Officer

MEDIA RELEASE  Stimulus measures must go to sectors which employ women



3 September 2020 

The Working Women’s Centre SA said today that COVID recovery stimulus measures need to go to feminised sectors if we are serious about economic recovery. Young women have been hit hard by COVID-related unemployment and underemployment, and investment in sectors which employ more women is the best thing we can do to address the economic crisis in the wake of COVID.


SA Premier Steven Marshall said this week that there will be new economic stimulus measures over the coming months, but has not yet specified which sectors the measures will be targeted at. Traditional economic stimulus measures focus on job-creation in male-dominated sectors through infrastructure and construction projects. But in this recession, young women are the ones who have been hit hardest by loss of work. Investment in sectors like social care and education would create at least twice as many jobs as the same investment in construction, and a far higher percentage of those jobs would go to women.


Abbey Kendall, Director of the Working Women’s Centre SA, said “We have had countless women come to our Centre seeking assistance after losing work due to COVID, often in unfair and discriminatory circumstances. When you look at the percentage of young women who are unemployed or underemployed currently, it’s far higher than that of any other age or gender demographic. This is because many of the sectors that have suffered, like tourism, hospitality and retail, are sectors with a majority-female workforce. Young women are also likely to work in casual jobs, and many have lost their job and been unable to access JobKeeper.”


“Many of the women that have continued working throughout the crisis have been workers on the frontlines: our health workers, our aged care workers, our teachers. Working women have been put under considerable strain during COVID. We need to show that we value the work that women do by investing in feminised sectors.”


“Economic stimulus that would create jobs for women could look like investment in mental health, in the arts, education, in environmental projects or programs to support international students. Stimulus measures that employ women are good for the community, and good for economy. We need to ensure that we are thinking about social infrastructure. All the research is telling us that government spending in health, education and care will create many more jobs than construction. Social infrastructure has to be a priority.”


“Where we invest in infrastructure, when we build social housing, roads, bridges, community centres, we have to make sure women are getting jobs on these construction sites. We need targets around female apprenticeships, so that we move all of these young women who have lost their jobs in hospitality, retail, tourism and accommodation into secure and valuable work. ”


Media contact: Maddie Sarre,

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