Equal Opportunity Commission Annual Report 2022-23

Annual report
The 2022-23 reporting year has brought some changes to the Commission as Western Australia adjusts to a post-pandemic world.
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After three years of restrictions the newly formed Strategy and Engagement section is now able to move more freely into the regions to deliver outreach and training.
In the 2022-23 financial year 542 people participated in training sessions, 497 people attended our events, and community education outreach sessions involved 1032 community members.
This provision of information is also augmented by online information from the website and the ebulletin which is sent out to over 1,300 people monthly.
The Integrated Court Management System for complaint handling is now fully operational and has switched complaint handling to a streamlined, virtually paperless system that can be accessed remotely by officers when working from home, in the regions or in the office.
This reporting year saw a downturn in COVID-19 complaints due to the easing of restrictions and lifting of mandates in the second half of 2022. This meant less complaints were received compared to the 2021-22 reporting year which brought an influx of COVID-19 related complaints to the Commission.
We are finding the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (the Act) increasingly restrictive when it comes to community standards of discrimination and harassment. More complaints are being dismissed because the Act has not kept pace with some aspects of a modern Western Australia.
Issues such as indirect discrimination, vilification, limits in the definition of sexual and racial harassment and the limited ground of gender history discrimination has made the Act difficult to access and the Commission welcomes a State Government response to the Law Reform Commission’s review of the Act published in August 2022.

Dr John Byrne AM
Western Australian Commissioner for Equal Opportunity