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New Benchmarking Tool To Assess LGBTI Inclusion Amongst Health And Wellbeing Providers Launches

A new benchmarking tool launched by leading LGBTI inclusion initiative, Pride Inclusion Programs, now provides health and wellbeing organisations the opportunity to assess, measure and improve their practices to better include LGBTI people in their services.

The Health + Wellbeing Equality Index is Australia’s first instrument to annually benchmark LGBTI inclusive service provision amongst organisations in the health, human services and wellbeing sectors. The index is administered by Pride in Health + Wellbeing, a national program that provides support, training and guidance in LGBTI inclusive service delivery. Pride in Health + Wellbeing is part of Pride Inclusion Programs, a suite of social inclusion initiatives delivered by Australia’s leading LGBTI health organisation, ACON.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the Health + Wellbeing Equality Index will be an important resource for health and wellbeing service providers across Australia.

“With significant health disparities between LGBTI and non-LGBTI people and issues many LGBTI people experience in accessing important and critical health services such as perceived or previously experienced stigma, discrimination, harassment or refusal of service, this index is an instrumental tool for service providers as they seek to be more inclusive of all Australians,” Mr Parkhill said.

“We are proud to announce the launch of this index, which builds on ACON’s decades-long experience in LGBTI health and wellbeing. This instrument, in addition to our Pride in Health + Wellbeing support program, will provide a much-needed resource for those seeking to ensure full inclusivity of LGBTI people within the services and programs that they offer and will assist providers in working towards the Rainbow Tick accreditation if that is their ultimate goal,” Mr Parkhill said.

Participation will give service providers clear guidelines on getting started or on progressing their work in LGBTI inclusive service provision, as well as an opportunity to survey both staff and service users regardless of how they identify going forward.

The Health + Wellbeing Equality Index builds on from Pride Inclusion Programs’ benchmarking instruments, the Pride in Sport Index and the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI).

Dawn Hough, Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs, said just as the AWEI has been instrumental in shifting practices in LGBTI inclusion in workplaces across Australia, the Health + Wellbeing Equality Indexwill be critical in improving health and wellbeing service provision.

“The feedback provided as a result of participation will allow health and wellbeing providers to not only focus their inclusion work in areas of good practice, but also determine annually what they need to do to improve,” Ms Hough said.

“As index participation grows, the benchmarking data will provide a valuable reference in terms of current best practice as well as both qualitative and quantitative data to show improvements in their service provision.”

Participants to the index do not need to be a member of the Pride in Health + Wellbeing support program to take part. Submissions can be made online and close Friday 8 March 5pm.

For more information about the Health + Wellbeing Equality Index, and Pride Inclusion Programs, go to


Media enquiries:

David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications
E: T: +61 (02) 9206 2044 M: +61 (0)428 477 042


Spotlight On Corporate LGBTI Inclusion In Australia’s Largest Employee Survey

The findings from the country’s largest survey into lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) inclusion within Australian workplaces have been released, detailing a range of attitudes and responses on how inclusion initiatives within the workplace have impacted LGBTI and non-LGBTI employees.

The 2018 Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) Employee Survey canvassed employees from around Australia on their organisation’s LGBTI inclusion efforts, to determine views on current initiatives, the impact within their workplaces and the overall message of diversity and inclusion. The survey has been conducted by Pride in Diversity, ACON’s national not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTI workplace inclusion.

This year, 23,120 surveys were completed from employees working at 89 different organisations, and of all respondents, 3,709 identified as LGBTI. The survey was open to all employees regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.

Heterosexual respondents comprised 76 per cent of the total, with gay and bisexual men comprising 9.2 per cent, lesbian and bisexual women comprising 6.7 per cent, and trans and gender diverse people comprising 1.5 per cent. Double the proportion of intersex respondents (65) responded in 2018 as opposed to 2017.

“LGBTI employees want diverse workplaces where they feel included and supported – it isn’t only a moral imperative, it’s also just good business,” ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said.

“Fear of abuse or discrimination forces many LGBTI people to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity when they access health and wellbeing services, leading in many cases to an increase in anxiety or depression.

“The work Pride in Diversity does in helping businesses as well as employees create more diverse and productive workplaces, is making real and substantial cultural change within Australian workplaces. There is however, so much more work to be done, as evidenced by some of these results, to ensure all Australians can be themselves at work.”

Some of the key survey findings include:

  • One in ten non-LGBTI employees believe that LGBTI inclusion at work is no longer necessary following marriage equality; only 73 per cent of non-LGBTI employees agree that inclusion work is still necessary, compared to 91 per cent of LGBTI respondents, indicating that, for the latter group, there is still much to be done in supporting diversity at work.
  • Over 88 per cent of non-LGBTI respondents believe that LGBTI employees can comfortably be themselves at their workplace, compared to 80 per cent of LGBTI respondents. However, those LGBTI employees working at organisations active in inclusion feel much more comfortable, with 86 per cent believing they can comfortably be themselves at work.
  • Almost 10 per cent of LGB respondents from regional areas reported experiencing negative commentary or jokes, more than double the proportion experiencing these in the cities. An even higher number reported having been personally experienced bullied in the past year – almost 12 per cent in regional areas, compared to 6 per cent in metropolitan areas.
  • More than 13 per cent of gender diverse employees experienced ‘very high’ or ‘high’ levels of anxiety during the recruitment processes.
  • 22 per cent of LGB respondents in regional areas were also more likely to expend energy hiding their sexuality to fit in – compared to 18 per cent of those working in the city.
  • Gay men are the most likely to feel that inclusion initiatives have had a positive impact on how they feel about their sexual orientation (60 per cent) compared to 52 per cent of lesbians.

“Even with some recent successes in achieving LGBTI rights, there is still a tremendous amount of work to do, and it is important that in all aspects of Australian working life that we have businesses comprising of leaders, advocates and allies within Australia’s major business, governmental, sporting, health and educational institutions who know the importance of LGBTI inclusion,” Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs, Dawn Hough said.

“This positivity and support surrounding LGBTI inclusion within these workplaces is a testament to Australian employers and the incredible work that they have done in the area of diversity and inclusion, and Pride in Diversity have been honoured to be a part of that journey. We would like to acknowledge survey partners Dr. Ilro Lee, Academic Advisor and Post-Doctoral Research Fellow AGSM, Helen Conway, Goldman Sachs for their publication support and Dentons for hosting the survey launch event we held on August 24.

“This survey and the work being done to make workplaces inclusive of all Australians, not only speaks to the importance of the work Pride in Diversity does, but is also something which employers can be extremely proud.”


The results of the 2018 AWEI Employee survey can be found here.



For more information please contact:

David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications

E:   T: +61 (02) 9206 2044   M: +61 (0)428 477  042

Australia’s Top Organisations For LGBTI Inclusion Announced

Professional Services firm EY has been named Australia’s 2018 Employer of the Year for LGBTI inclusion at the Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards, hosted today by ACON’s Pride in Diversity – the national not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTI workplace inclusion.

More than 700 business leaders, diversity champions, HR professionals and many more actively working on LGBTI inclusion came together at the Hyatt Regency in Sydney to celebrate the results of Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI); a rigorous, evidence-based benchmarking instrument that assesses workplaces in the work and impact of their LGBTI inclusion initiatives.

In 2018, for the first time, there was significant shift in the makeup of top employers. Traditionally dominated by financial and professional services, this year saw representation from various levels of government (Australian Taxation Office and Brisbane City Council), retail (Woolworths), higher education (RMIT University), energy & resources (AGL Energy) and religious organisations (Uniting).

 Twelve organisations were awarded Gold Employer status, with an additional four being awarded Platinum for the longevity of their high performance spanning at least four of the last five years (Westpac, LendLease, Accenture, Commonwealth Bank).

This year’s awards were attended by a record number of CEOs and Australian business leaders, including Qantas CEO and Pride In Diversity co-patron, Alan Joyce, and Luke Sayers, CEO of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, who picked up this year’s CEO of the Year Award for his role in LGBTI inclusion.

Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs (which incorporates Pride in Diversity, Pride in Sport and Pride in Health+Wellbeing) Dawn Hough said: “The AWEI has seen remarkable growth over the first eight years of its life; this year we see the most significant change in the diversity of our top employers and a much higher growth in participation of our small employers which we are delighted about”.

The AWEI saw 135 employers across Australia participate this year (both small and large employer indices), a 16 per cent increase on 2017 participation. The employee survey attached to the index received 23,130 responses, an increase of 38 per cent. Participation by small employers rose by 120 per cent this year with Key Assets, The Children’s Services Provider (Australia) taking out Small Employer of the Year Award.

“ACON congratulates all award winners recognised today on their significant achievement and for showing great leadership in the area of diversity and inclusion,” Ms Hough added.

Pride Inclusion Programs will next celebrate LGBTI inclusion within Australian sport with the inaugural Australian Pride in Sport Awards in Melbourne on 19 June. Held at the Showtime Events Centre, the awards will honour national and state sporting organisations, clubs and individuals as it showcases the results of the Pride in Sport Index (PSI) – the national benchmarking instrument used to assess LGBTI inclusion within Australian sport.  The event will be hosted by renowned Australian sports journalist, Tracey Holmes, and attended by Pride in Sport co-patrons Alex Blackwell and Daniel Kowalski, along with several other high profile athletes.

For more information on ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs, go to

2018 Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards Recipients

Award Recipient
Employer of the Year EY
LGBTI Employee Network of the Year Prism, EnergyAustralia
CEO of the Year Luke Sayers, PwC
Platinum Employers LendLease, Accenture, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Gold Employers ANZ, Uniting, AGL Energy, Australian Taxation Office, Mercer (Australia) Pty Ltd, Brisbane City Council, Clayton Utz, RMIT University, Deloitte Australia, Deutsche Bank Australia, Woolworths, EY
Small Employer Key Assets, The Children’s Services Provider (Australia)
Most Improved Employer TAL
Trans/Gender Diverse Inclusion Uniting
External Media Campaign Hold Tight, ANZ
Executive Leadership James Collins, PwC
Network Leader of the Year Mark Hodgson, Alcoa
Out Role Model Angus Lonergan, YMCA NSW
Sapphire Inspire Kimberly Olsen, Uniting
The Sally Webster Ally Award Melissa Tandy, ANZ

For more information please contact:

David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications

E:   T: +61 (02) 9206 2044   M: +61 (0)428 477 042

Australia’s Top Organisations for LGBTI Inclusion Announced

ANZ has been named Australia’s 2017 Employer of the Year for the first time at the sell-out Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards, a special event held today in Sydney by ACON’s national not-for-profit program, Pride in Diversity.

The Employer of the Year heads an annual list of top employers for LGBTI inclusion determined by an assessment against the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), a benchmarking instrument that evaluates LGBTI inclusivity against a rigorous and comprehensive set of measures, in addition to a body of supporting evidence submitted by the employer as part of the evaluation process.

Over 640 business leaders, diversity and HR professionals, and representatives from LGBTI employee groups attended the Pride in Diversity luncheon and awards ceremony at Doltone House, which this year incorporated the results of the inaugural Pride in Sport Index (PSI) and featured keynote speakers former High Court justice Michael Kirby and cricketer Alex Blackwell.

As well as being named Employer of the Year, ANZ was also acknowledged for its work in inclusion of transgender people and ANZ’s Pride Network Specialist Dave Beks was recognised with the award for Out Role Model.

This year’s awards featured the new category of Platinum Employer, which recognises organisations that have ranked within the top ten for a minimum of four years within the last five year period, or have been acknowledged as Employer of the Year twice within that time frame. The inaugural awardees of Platinum Employer status are Goldman Sachs, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The University of Western Australia and Accenture.

Ten organisations that achieved the highest ranking within the past year were awarded Gold Employer status:  AGL Energy, Australian Federal Police, Australian Taxation Office, Bankwest, Clayton Utz, Commonwealth Bank, EY, Macquarie Bank and NSW Police Force. NSW Police Force also received the honour of being the first organisation to receive an award for the inclusion of intersex people.

Ten other organisations were awarded Silver Employer status and a further 34 were recognised with Bronze Employer Status.

EnergyAustralia picked up the achievement award for most improved employer and the Commonwealth Bank’s Unity network was named LGBTI Employee Network of the Year.

A record number of CEOs and C-Suite leaders attended this year’s awards luncheon, including Deloitte CEO Cindy Hook, who was recognised at CEO of the Year for her role in LGBTI inclusion.

Presenting at the ceremony, Pride in Diversity Patron Michael Kirby said: “The ever growing success of the outreach to the business, sporting and general community is most heartening. It is part of the explanation for the changing attitudes of Australians of all walks of life towards LGBTIQ equality and justice. In cities, regional, remote and rural Australia, things are changing.”

The AWEI saw 116 employers across Australia participate this year – a 38% increase compared to 2016. The employee survey attached to the index received 16,759 responses. By participating in the AWEI and the employee survey, employers are able to benchmark their practice against other organisations and obtain annual data on the impact initiatives are having on their employees.

Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs Dawn Hough said: “The AWEI has seen remarkable growth over the first seven years of its life with this year seeing the most significant growth to date.”

While there is still a long way to go, Hough said that LGBTI inclusion has well and truly made its way onto the Australian workplace diversity and inclusion agenda, and is starting to make a mark in the sporting field as well.

“ACON congratulates all award winners recognised today on their significant achievement and for showing great leadership in the area of diversity and inclusion,” Ms Hough added.

The awards also acknowledged, for the first time, the work of Australian sporting organisations in LGBTI inclusion. Ten sporting organisations participated in the inaugural Pride in Sport Index (PSI), a world first national benchmarking instrument designed to assess LGBTI inclusivity within Australian sport.

The Australian Football League was named the inaugural winner of the PSI Organisation of the Year Award.

AFL’s Inclusion and Social Policy General Manager Tanya Hosch said: “The AFL is honoured to be recognised as a leader for LGBTI inclusion in sport. The AFL was delighted to contribute to the implementation of the PSI. The AFL found the benchmarking exercise extremely valuable as a means to review and reflect on its LGBTI inclusion policies and practices across the Australian Football industry.”

The Inclusive Club award was given to St Kilda Football Club and the Water Polo Pride Cup was recognised with the Inclusive Sports Initiative award.

David Pocock, Vice-Captain of ACT Super Rugby club The Brumbies, was acknowledged with the award for LGBTI Ally.

“It’s a real honour to win the inaugural Pride in Sport Champion Ally Award,” Mr Pocock said. “I believe that sport is at its best when it is challenging society to be more inclusive and there have been so many people involved in driving this change.

“In rugby, may I make special mention of [Pride in Sport Index Co-founder] Andrew Purchas, who has been challenging the sport to become more accepting and inclusive, and all the people who have shown leadership in this area. The support from the major sports of the Pride in Sport Index is a good example of this change. I also want to congratulate all the other winners, including the inaugural Pride in Sport Index Organisation of the Year, AFL,” Mr Pocock said.


2017 Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards Recipients


Award Recipient
Employer of the Year ANZ
LGBTI Employee Network of the Year Unity, CBA
CEO of the Year Cindy Hook  – Deloitte
Platinum Employers Accenture, Goldman Sachs, PwC, University of Western Australia
Gold Employers AGL Energy, Australian Federal Police, Australian Taxation Office, Bankwest, Clayton Utz, Commonwealth Bank, EY, Macquarie Bank,  NSW Police Force
Small Employer Key Assets, The Children’s Services Provider (Australia)
Most Improved Employer EnergyAustralia
Transgender Inclusion ANZ
Intersex Inclusion NSW Police Force
Innovation and Engagement Medibank, I Am Better Campaign
Executive Leadership Lynn Kraus – EY
Network Leader of the Year Dane Renner – Woodside Energy Ltd
Out Role Model Dave Beks – ANZ
Sapphire Inspire Tracy Taylor – Accenture
Community Impact Jackie Braw – NSW Police Force
Training Impact Australian Federal Police
The Sally Webster Ally Award Lori Turner – Medibank
Inclusive Sports Initiative Water Polo Pride Cup
Inclusive Club St Kilda Football Club
Pride in Sport Index Organisation of the Year Australian Football League
Out Role Model  (Sport) Jason Ball – Yarra Glen Football Club
LGBTI Ally  (Sport) David Pocock – ARU Wallabies/ACT Brumbies
Inclusive Coach  (Sport) Mel Rippon – Brisbane Tritons Water Polo and Damien Hicks – Brisbane Barracudas


Pride Inclusion Programs, which incorporates Pride in Diversity and Pride in Sport, are programs of ACON, NSW’s leading HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTI health organisation. For more information,


ENDS     *LGBTI – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex


For media enquiries:

David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications Officer

E: | T: +61 (02) 9206 2044 | M: +61 (0)428 477 042

Australia’s Top 20 Employers for LGBTI Employees Announced

PwC has been named Australia’s Employer of the Year for 2015, the first time an employer has picked up the coveted title twice, at a special event recognising workplace support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

The Australian arm of the global professional services firm topped a list of 20 organisations which were recognised today at a special luncheon in Sydney organised by Pride in Diversity, Australia’s first and only national employer support program for the inclusion of LGBTI people in the workplace.

The awards were determined using Pride In Diversity’s Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), a free service provided annually by Pride In Diversity that evaluates and benchmarks LGBTI inclusiveness in Australian workplaces.

Other awards at the luncheon included: LGBTI Employee Network of the Year (Westpac GLOBAL); Highest Ranking University (Curtin University); Highest Ranking Public Sector Organisation (Australian Federal Police & Department of Defence); and Achievement Award for Most Improved (HSBC).

ANZ won an Innovation Award for their GayTM’s, Key Assets won Small Employer Award and Children & Young People’s Mental Health picked up the Regional Employer Award. Australian Red Cross Blood Collection was also named Highest Ranking Not-for-Profit/Charity.

This year individuals from Lend Lease (Jason Burubu), Deakin University (Roxanne/Bobby J Thomson), Westpac Group (Brad Cooper and Kristina Bennett) and Curtin University (Maz Rahman) were acknowledged for their significant contribution to LGBTI workplace inclusion initiatives.

Presenting the Awards at the Ceremony, the Hon Michael Kirby AC, said, “I applaud all the organisations here today, and indeed individuals who have played critical roles in their ongoing commitment and support of their LGBTI employees and colleagues.

“While many employees feel comfortable to be themselves at work, let’s not lose sight of the fact that many more do not. Where we stand today is still not good enough. The more inclusive your workplace culture, the more likely people will be to engage, respect and contribute to the organisation they are working for.”

Pride in Diversity Director Dawn Hough says more organisations are engaging with the AWEI. “This is the fifth year of the AWEI. The number of employers participating has increased by 152% from Year 1 and we now have over 9000 employees participating in the employee survey. The focus on LGBTI inclusion initiatives has increased substantially. We are really looking at our Top 20 Employers now as examples of good practice. There is very little difference point-wise between some of these employers, in some cases, as little as 1 point between leaderboard positions.”

Approximately 450 people attended the sold-out event at the Westin in Sydney on May 15, MC’d by Bob Downe. Guests included Pride In Diversity patron the Hon. Michael Kirby, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson and CEO’s and Leaders from some of Australia’s largest commercial and public sector organisations. On the back of the announcement that Pride in Diversity will also be developing an index to address homophobia in sports, representatives from Bingham Cup, Football Federation Australia, Cricket Australia, Australian Sports Commission, Australian Rugby Union, National Rugby League and AFL were also present.

Pride in Diversity congratulates all the organisations recognised today on their significant achievement and for showing great leadership in the area of diversity and inclusion,” Ms Hough says.

The 2015 Top 20 Australian employers for LGBTI people are:

 1.   PwC2.  Westpac Group3.  Curtin University4.  Commonwealth Bank of Australia5.  Goldman Sachs

6. ANZ

7.   Macquarie Bank

8.  Lend Lease

9.  National Australia Bank

10. The University of WA

11. IBM12. EY13. Australian Red Cross Blood Service=14. Accenture= 14. Allens

16. UnitingCare Ageing NSW.ACT

=17. Australian Federal Police

=17. Department of Defence

19. Herbert Smith Freehills

20. Telstra

Pride In Diversity is a program of ACON, NSW’s leading HIV and LGBTI health organisation.

*LGBTI – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex


For more info please contact:

Dawn Hough, Pride In Diversity Director

T: (02) 9206 2136     M: 0409 887 212     E:

Media Enquiries:
Andrew Hamadanian, ACON Media & Communication Officer
E:   T: (02) 9206 2044  M: 0419 555 768