The Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW has continued its successful work in 2010-11. Our main activities reflect our statutory obligations to handle complaints and to inform people about their rights and responsibilities under anti-discrimination law.
The first step for many people experiencing discrimination is to consult the Board’s website. This is constantly being updated and contains a wide range of easy-to-navigate information which quickly enables people to understand their rights and responsibilities in specific areas.
Others feel more comfortable contacting our Enquiry Service, which can also provide advice about more complex situations and suggest other ways to find assistance if the situation is not covered by anti-discrimination law. We still receive thousands of enquiries each year, although the numbers have gradually declined over the last decade due to increased use of the website.
2010-11 has seen a legislative change that enables people to lodge complaints by email. This means complaints can be submitted by post or email, or by using our complaint form. There are also other options for people with a disability. We are currently developing user-friendly options which will enable people to lodge complaints directly via our website.
The number of complaints we received this year increased by 14% from 2009-10, and slightly from 2008-09. Sex (including sexual harassment), disability, and race discrimination continue to be the most frequent grounds of complaint. Despite some unexpected staff absences this year, the conciliation team continues to achieve excellent results, with an average time of 6.4 months to finalise complaints, and 88% finalised within twelve months.
A major update of the Board’s Complaint Handling Manual was completed in 2010-11. This will serve as a practice guide for staff who are investigating and conciliating complaints. The electronic format means it can be easily updated to reflect any future changes in practice.
The Board’s Education Service also continued its successful work in 2010- 11. Demand for the services of our experienced workplace training team continued steadily this year, resulting in total revenue of $655,603 – a 17% increase over 2009-10.
Community education is another important aspect of the Board’s work. This year we worked with groups including homeless people, the Sudanese, Congolese and Nepalese communities, a number of different disability groups, and school, TAFE and university students.
The Education Service also ran our annual art competition for young people, this time to design a poster about celebrating diversity. As well as raising awareness, the competition generated some very strong entries, and the three winning designs have been published.
This year our publications staff produced a series of advertisements to increase awareness about the Board’s role. As well as our regular newsletter and website activity, we have also revised a number of publications to improve accessibility and produced new promotional materials.
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team also continued its excellent work in 2010-11. As previously, the team worked with other agencies to provide joint information sessions for community workers and leaders, provided training for real estate agents and attended a number of fairs and information days.
A major activity this year was the Board’s participation in the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for the first time in ten years. Marching under a colourful banner, the Board group had a great opportunity to raise awareness about our services.
We have also refined our procedures in two areas: services for people with a disability and privacy and information management. Information about how people with a disability can use our services has been updated and made available on our website. We also updated our privacy management plan and procedures, and undertook staff training on privacy issues and on the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.
Thanks to all the Board’s staff, including our Legal Officers and Liaison and Support team, and to the members of our advisory committees. Thanks also to the Statutory Board for their advice and participation during the year, and to Director General Laurie Glanfield and the senior management of the Department of Attorney General and Justice for their support.
Stepan Kerkyasharian AO
02 Dec 2022
We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the ongoing connection Aboriginal people have to this land and recognise Aboriginal people as the original custodians of this land.