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Cost model consultation paper released

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

The Australian Government is delivering on its commitment to implement all recommendations of the Respect@Work Report, and has opened a public consultation process on an appropriate cost model for Commonwealth anti-discrimination proceedings.

The Government last year introduced the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Act 2022, delivering on an important election commitment to require employers to take proactive steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Government carefully considered the recommendations of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee and listened to stakeholder concerns in relation to the cost provisions that were included in the original version of the Bill, which were based on a recommendation of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

As a result of these considerations the Government removed the cost provision from the Bill and committed to referring the issue of costs in discrimination proceedings to the Attorney-General’s Department for review.

The Australian Government remains committed to this reform, which will implement recommendation 25 of the Respect@Work Report. The Attorney-General’s Department has today released a consultation paper as part of its review into the most appropriate cost model in anti-discrimination proceedings.

The Department will also conduct virtual roundtables with key stakeholders to inform its advice to the Government and ensure that any unintended consequences of cost reforms are properly considered.

All interested stakeholders are invited to review the consultation paper and provide submissions. Submissions close 14 April 2023.

The consultation paper can be accessed on the Attorney-General's Department website.