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ANZ, Bankwest, UWA and more win at Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards

OUT IN PERTH – 25 May, 2017

ANZ has been awarded 2017 Employer of the Year at the Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards, a special event held in Sydney by the AIDS Council of New South Wales’ (ACON) national not-for-profit program, Pride in Diversity.

The top award takes prime position on an annual list of Australia’s best employers as assessed by the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) which measures and evaluated LGBTI inclusivity in the workplace.

Speaking at the ceremony, patron and former High Court Justice Michael Kirby said the growing success of outreach to the business, sporting and general community is heartening.

“It is part of the explanation for the changing attitudes of Australians of all walks of life towards LGBTIQ equality and justice,” Kirby said.

“In cities, regional, remote and rural Australia, things are changing.”

116 employers took party in the AWEI assessment this year, a 38% increase in participation as compared to last year.

ACON’s Pride Inclusion Program Director Dawn Hough said the AWEI has seen remarkable growth.

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

The University of Western Australia was one of only four employers who were awarded Platinum Employer status, 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. UWA was joined by Accenture, Goldman Sachs and PwC.

“The University has demonstrated a significant commitment towards LGBTIQA+ inclusivity for more than a decade and will continue to do so,” UWA’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Kent Anderson said.

“People should be free to go to work, complete their studies and be a part of the community in a supportive positive, fair and inclusive environment.

“UWA aspires to be included among the world’s top 50 universities by 2050 and a demonstrable commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical to that.”

Bankwest were among the nine employers who were awarded Gold status, for ranking in the top 10 during the previous year. EY, Macquarie Bank, Commonwealth Bank, The Australian Federal Police and the Australian Taxation Office shared the title.

Bankwest Managing Director Rowan Munchenberg was at the Sydney ceremony and said he was very proud of Bankwest’s achievement of gold status.

“The establishment of a culture that embraces diversity ultimately helps us support and address the diverse needs and expectations of our customers,” he said.

“I’ve only been at Bankwest for a relatively short period of time but I’ve seen again and again how much colleagues are valued in the open and inclusive working environment which we encourage,” he said.

“I’m proud of the ongoing work in this important space with the aim of ensuring Bankwest is an LGBTI employer of choice.”

Australia’s Highest Ranking Small Employer For LGBTI Inclusion

LOTL – 22 May 2017

Children’s services provider, Key Assets has been named Australia’s Highest Ranking Small Employer for LGBTI inclusion at the 2017 Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) Awards for the third consecutive year. This year they also took home the highly honourable ‘Gold Award.’

Key Assets’ Executive Director, Rob Ryan said the award is great recognition for their continued focus on supporting LGBTI people in the workplace.

“Our organisation is built around an identity which values the contribution that people make to the lives of others, and a belief that people are more than labels. We are proud to be associated with a movement committed to valuing diversity in the workplace,” Mr. Ryan said. “We are thrilled to be the recipient of the Gold Award and Highest Ranking Small Employer Award for LGBTI workplace inclusion for the second year in a row.

“This inclusion happens naturally in our workplaces and to have this recognised publicly through the AWEI benchmarking tool is great. I would like to thank our employees, carers and young people for their continuing efforts in communicating our commitment to diversity and inclusion for the LGBTI community. The next 12 months will see us continue to grow our commitment and further develop LGBTI inclusion in the workplace and the community.”

Can they make it four years in a row? Fingers crossed!


FRIDAY 20 MAY, 2016

Westpac Group has been named Australia’s 2016 Employer of the Year for LGBTI inclusion for the first time at a special event held in Sydney by ACON’s Pride in Diversity (PID) program, a national not-for-profit employer program for the inclusion of LGBTI people in the workplace.

Employer of the Year heads an annual list of Top 20 employers for LGBTI inclusion determined by assessment against PID’s Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), a benchmarking instrument that evaluates LGBTI inclusivity against a comprehensive set of measures in addition to a body of supporting evidence submitted by the employer as part of the evaluation process.

Along with some truly significant achievements in 2016 by a range of organisations ranging from banking and finance, renewables, telcos and IT, the Australian Federal Police receives the honour of being the highest performing public sector organisation.

Uniting is the highest ranking not-for-profit/charity and the NSW Police, in only their first year in the index, has achieved an 11th placed-ranking as well as receiving an award for transgender inclusion.

Presenting at the Awards Ceremony held on May 20, Patron of Pride in Diversity the Hon Michael Kirby AC said: “Once again we come together to acknowledge the progress being made in Australia in inclusion and non-discrimination in work, sport and life,”

“At occasions like this, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that ignorant and unscientific prejudice against LGBTI citizens has been overcome in our country…Unfortunately, this is not so,”

“Full equality has not been achieved in 2016. In fact there have been some notable reverses in the past year which we need to look squarely in the eyes; a clear sign that the struggle for dignity in Australia is far from over.”

Other awards at the luncheon included: LGBTI Employee Network of the Year (Commonwealth Bank’s UNITY); Innovation Award (Accenture); Highest Ranking University (The University of Western Australia); Achievement Award for Most Improved (Clayton Utz), Highest Ranking Small Employer (Key Assets – The Children’s Services Provider), Small Employer Award (Domestic Violence Service Management NSW).

Individuals acknowledged for their significant contribution to LGBTI workplace inclusion include Greg Ward, CEO Macquarie Bank (CEO of the Year); Supt Tony Crandell, NSW Police Force (Executive Leadership Award); Steve Rieniets, AGL (Regional Inclusion Champion); Brad Cooper, CEO BT Financial Group (Inclusion Champion); Melissa Tandy, ANZ (Sally Webster Ally Award); Suzi Russell-Gilford, PwC (Sapphire Award) and Rhiannon Kop, Aurizon (Out Role Model).

A Platinum Tier status has been established for the first time this year, acknowledging organisations that have either retained a top 5 position at least 4 times within the last 5 years, or achieved employer of the year twice within the last 5 years. PwC and Goldman Sachs are the first organisations to qualify for the new Platinum Tier.

Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs (which incorporates PID and the newly launched Pride in Sport) Dawn Hough said: “The AWEI has seen remarkable growth over the first six years of its life with this year seeing the most significant growth to date”.

There has been a 46.6% increase in AWEI participation, 125% increase in first time submissions and a 48% increase in accompanying employee survey responses (n 13,393).

Another noteworthy achievement for this year’s AWEI includes substantial growth in sector participation, including a 50% increase in private, 40% in public and 80% for Higher Education.

“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 & Inclusion Agenda.”

Over 600 people attended the sold-out event at Doltone House in Sydney on May 20, emceed by Olympic Diver Matthew Mitcham. Speakers included PID patron the Hon. Michael Kirby and Paul Zahra, PwC Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board Member and former CEO of David Jones.

“Pride in Diversity 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 Top 20 Employers for LGBTI Inclusion 2016 are:

1.    Westpac Group (Employer of the Year)

2.    Commonwealth Bank of Australia

3.    EY

=4.  Macquarie Bank

The University of Western Australia (Highest Ranking University)

6.    Uniting (Highest Ranking Charity / NFP)

7.    National Australia Bank

8.    Accenture

9.    Australian Federal Police (Highest Ranking Public Sector)

10.   Allens

11.   NSW Police Force

12.   Lendlease

13.   AGL Energy

14.   ANZ

15.   Telstra

16.   Norton Rose Fulbright

17.   Deutsche Bank

18.   IBM

19.   Bankwest

=20. Baker & McKenzie

Department of Defence


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



WHEN AGL Loy Yang’s General Manager Steve Rieniets heard his name announced as the 2016 AWEI Regional Inclusion Champion, his initial reaction was surprise.

“I was a bit surprised to be honest, but very proud to have won the award. I think it’s a reflection of our AGL Shine program and the great efforts by the team coordinating it that has helped our Loy Yang workforce become more aware and embrace it. I’m just one player, it’s the workforce more broadly that has allowed it to happen,” Mr Rieniets said.
Recognised for his outstanding efforts in building LGBTI inclusion across his local community and AGL more broadly, Mr Rieniets has been crucial in helping break down barriers and to the overall success ofAGL Shine.
An employee-driven network, AGL Shine was established in response to an increasing number of AGL employees seeking to achieve a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture where LGBTI employees feel they are able to be truly authentic and bring their whole self to work, and to feel safe and supported to do so.

Acknowledged as a thought leadership initiative and influential entity within the company, AGL Shine is represented by almost 200 members and allies from across the company, including regional and remote locations.

In 2015 Mr Rieniets joined AGL Shine as an ambassador and in that time he has organised and led a number of training sessions which have focused on inclusive language and behaviours, communications and engagement.

“It wasn’t until we ran some sessions on site that I became more aware of some of the issues facing LGBTI employees. Hearing first hand from guest speakers, such as Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, talk about LGBTI in the workforce was enlightening. These sessions were very well attended and I really enjoyed educating the workplace, and myself, more broadly on issues they may not have even considered. Education across the workplace has been a key feature for me, and I hope that over the next year we can increase the awareness even more across the predominant blue collar work areas and right down to the coalface,” Mr Rieniets said.

The progress and impact of AGL Shine has encouraged AGL to publicly take a strong stance on matters that concern the LGBTI community. This year AGL pledged support for marriage equality in Australia by becoming a corporate sponsor of a national campaign and Mr Rieniets represented regional AGL workplaces when he marched in Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival.

“As a leader, I think it’s important to show your support in an active way – lead from the front and show you care about everyone, no matter who or what they are,” he said.

“I believe everyone should be treated equally. That’s first and foremost for me. I lead a large power station and a coal mine on the premise that everyone is equal, and should feel safe and valued while at work. It’s also about trying to increase awareness and change people’s attitudes that don’t belong in today’s modern workforce. People need to be treated equally, they need to feel accepted, connected, and that they belong. I think a diverse workplace is good for business. People are more productive, there’s less conflict, and this leads to better business outcomes.”

ACON’S Pride Inclusion Programs director Dawn Hough congratulated AGL on achieving the coveted Silver Tier in the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) 2016 and Mr Rieniets for his regional champion award.

“Both awards are a significant achievement which reflects AGL’s commitment to LGBTI inclusion, not only within their workplace but also within the wider Australian community,” Ms Hough said.

© Star Observer 2015 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.



SINCE joining the Westpac Group two years ago, Sam Turner has felt the most supported and comfortable she ever has with being herself at work.

Working as one of the brand’s many regional general managers, Turner has also taken on the role of chairing Global – Westpac’s LGBTI employee group.

The work that group and the company has achieved in the past year was recognised when Westpac Group took out the top gong at the 2016 Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) Awards for LGBTI employee inclusion.
“The thing I always say, since joining Westpac almost two years ago, I have felt the most supported and most comfortable in terms of being myself,” she said.

“That includes (telling) stories about a partner, if I had one at the time. The most important thing is not feeling like I have to cover any aspect of my life.”

Global has been in existence for four years, and has gained visibility, engagement and participation from the workplace, Turner said.

The group has held a number of activities and programs in an attempt to foster LGBTI inclusion in the workplace.

“We run inclusive language training across the group,” Turner said.

“This year we actually filmed it and it’s available to our staff at any time via our intranet. It includes how we’re involving all our colleagues.”

There is also an inclusive leadership program, and social events like a Mardi Gras picnic.

“My experience as a role model but also as someone who identifies as L on the LGBTI spectrum, I’ve met more of our LGBTI staff in the past 12 months than ever, and I’ve seen a lot of our global members become more confident and happy,” Turner said.

“We don’t just pay lip service to it. It’s not just a bunch of stats on a page, it’s about how people genuinely feel. And my take on that is we’ve got more people across the group feeling comfortable in their own skin and feel like they can fully participate, whether that’s sharing weekend stories or their partner’s gender if that’s what they want to do.”

BT Financial Group chief executive Brad Cooper, who is Westpac’s executive sponsor for LGBTI inclusion and was named Inclusion Champion of the Year, said their work was not about the recognition but about wanting a more diverse workplace.

“When we first started, we did a staff engagement survey and when we looked at the engagement level of LGBTI employees, it was four per cent below the rest,” Cooper said.

“In two years, we’ve closed that gap and now we’ve got no difference.”

Cooper said Group’s initiatives drove people who were usually quite passive on the subject become more vocal when they saw behaviours that were unacceptable.

“88 per cent of employees feel comfortable with their sexual orientation in the workplace which was up nine per cent from two years previously,” he said.

“A great testament of people being who they are.”

ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs director Dawn Hough, applauded Westpac for their achievement.

“The Pride in Diversity Inclusion Awards, driven by the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) benchmarking process, reveal the significant work Australian organisations, including Westpac, are doing to create truly inclusive workplace cultures for their employees,” she said.

“The AWEI covers areas of contribution in policy, data collection, visibility, training, suppliers and community. Evidence-based, and objective, to be recognised as the Employer of the Year is a significant achievement.”

To find out more information about Pride in Diversity, visit its website here.

© Star Observer 2015 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.



HEADS turned in surprise at the Pride in Diversity (PID) awards on May 20 in Sydney as New South Wales Police picked up a swag of awards.

ACON’s PID program is a national not-for-profit employer program for the inclusion of LGBTI people in the workplace.

Despite having been a member of PID since 2012, it was the first time NSW Police entered the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), which is a benchmarking instrument that evaluates LGBTI inclusivity against a comprehensive set of measures in addition to a body of supporting evidence submitted by the employer as part of the evaluation process.

NSW Police came in 11th place overall on the index and also picked up awards for the inclusion of transgender people in the Transgender Inclusion Award category. Superintendent Tony Crandell was also recognised for his achievements in LGBTI workplace inclusion winning an Executive Leadership Award.

“I’ve been a police officer for 30 years and I’ve seen a massive change in LGBTI inclusion,” Supt Crandell said.

“I especially don’t want to say we haven’t got any further to go, because we have, but for police officers being able to be themselves, it’s been night and day in the journey I’ve seen.

Supt Crandell said much of NSW Police’s LGBTI inclusion achievements came via its GLLO (gay and lesbian liaison officers) program which was established in 1990.

“From my perspective the GLLO program is just so important and for the GLLOs to be identifiable to not only make officers know they can have someone they can trust, but for the LGBTI public to know the officers can identify with them,” he said.

“A lot of our work is through the GLLO program, we have over 200 GLLOs. They are the face of the police to not only the community, but to the force itself.

“They provide support and advice to LGBTI or sexuality and gender diverse police officers. They do lots of community engagement.”

The police also have a strong presence during the Wear It Purple Day and are planning to start a memorial for Transgender Remembrance Day.

NSW Police participates in Mardi Gras, uses inclusive language in its policies and runs training sessions for new recruits at the police academy.

Supt Crandell credits his whole team for their success, especially administration officer, Jackie Braw.

“For me that is such a massive team effort, Jackie is really the centre of all things LGBTI in the workforce,” he said.

Braw said one of her proudest achievements in NSW Police LGBTI inclusion plan was the 25th anniversary of the GLLO project an events last year.

“I was totally floored when we got 11th… it was a surprise,” she said.

Dawn Hough, Director, ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs congratulated NSW Police on its achievements.

“Pride in Diversity would like to congratulate the NSW Police Force on achieving 11th place within the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) 2017,” she said.

“This is a significant achievement which reflects their commitment to both LGBTI workplace inclusion, and their commitment to the LGBTI community in NSW.”

© Star Observer 2015 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.


TUESDAY, 26 MAY 2015 – Gay News Network

PricewaterhouseCoopers has been named Australia’s top employer for LGBTI people for 2015.

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.

It is the second time PwC has won the honour, having been named the country’s LGBTI Employer of the Year in 2012.

Read more… 


MAY 18, 2015 –

AUSTRALIA’S public sector is falling behind on LGBTI inclusion, new research has revealed.

Of the 20 highest-ranked organisations in the annual Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) of LGBTI friendly employers, only one-in-five comes from the public sector.

In contrast, half the organisations in the top 20 of the equivalent British Stonewall index are publicly-owned, including government departments and local councils.

Read more…

PricewaterhouseCoopers wins top employer for LGBTI support

May 15 2015 – Australian Financial Review

At a slightly more than black-and-grey corporate event on Friday, professional services firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, was awarded Australia’s 2015 employer of the year for workplace support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

Westpac Group and Curtin University took out second and third place respectively in the Australian Workplace Equality Index conducted by employer support program, Pride In Diversity.

Read more…