The Chronicle: We've come a long way baby
Earlier this month women around Canberra came together to celebrate International Women’s Day. While this day means different things to different people, it gives women the chance to celebrate our achievements and reflect on the work that still needs to be done.
On the day, I visited an inspirational woman who has lived in Yarralumla for many years, Canberra Legend Valerie Reid. Valerie was a pioneer – for women and for Canberra. Many decades ago she stood up to the men in her family, moved to Canberra and started her own very successful business.
Valerie began the first tourist launches on the newly created Lake Burley Griffin. When I met her, she recalled it wasn’t easy setting up a business in those days. There was a lot of red tape and it took her nine years just to get a liquor licence.
But Valerie persisted. And after doing the hard yards, she soon had a viable business operating on LBG, as she calls it. Her business grew and before long she was operating coaches between the ACT and the South Coast as well.
Valerie is a perfect example of what women can achieve and how far we’ve come since we secured the right to vote. And today we continue to make progress, particularly in the workplace.
Thanks to Labor, Australia now has its first paid parental leave scheme, which is benefiting 150,000 Australian families.
We’ve also achieved equal pay for community sector workers after Fair Work Australia approved major pay rises for around 150,000 carers and counsellors – most of them women in low paid jobs.
And we’ve increased the Child Care Rebate from 30 to 50 per cent, which gives families up to $7,500 per child each year to help pay the cost of childcare, giving women more options.
These are just some of the ways Labor is helping women participate in the workforce, and making Canberra workplaces more family-friendly.
PS – I know there are many women all over Canberra like Valerie Reid who are doing great work for their community and achieving their goals. If you know a woman who should go down in history as a Canberra Legend contact my office and pass on the details.