1. Purpose

To outline our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the way we work, how we do business with our customers and how we support and reflect the many communities in our service area.

Diversity takes many forms, including values, religion, culture and language, ethnicity and nationality, biological traits, disability, the spectrums of gender and sexuality, socio-economic status, stage of life, education, geography, or access to resources and opportunities.

People require different supports and opportunities to make their best contributions at work. They are diverse in the way they like to work, socialise and interact. Diversity is also found in family structures, social traditions and communities, with individuals holding diverse roles and responsibilities within them. We recognise and respect that our customers, community and people have diverse opinions and expectations, as well as life experiences.

Equity means fair inclusion. It can be demonstrated when we provide processes, opportunities or resources that fit individual, or group needs or circumstances so everyone can participate and succeed. This may involve action to reverse the impact of disadvantage stemming from a person or group’s differences.

Inclusion is the practice of making sure we encourage the involvement and engagement of diversity in all our systems and practices relating to our customers, community and people.

2. Scope of policy

This policy applies to South East Water and its subsidiary, Iota Services Pty Ltd (Iota), and must be observed by all directors, employees, agents, fixed term workers and other workers. References in this policy to South East Water are taken to include Iota.

3. What this means for us

A diverse, equitable and inclusive organisation delivers better outcomes for our people, customers and communities and supports the achievement of our purpose and vision. It helps

us to:

  • Attract, develop and retain talent
  • Better engage and connect with our customers
  • Improve our productivity
  • Foster innovation

In order to get the most from our diversity, we need to continue to ensure we provide a physically and psychologically safe environment for all employees.

Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion aligns with our values:

  • We put safety first
  • We care
  • We’re real
  • We’re bold
  • We discover
  • We deliver sustainably

It’s also a key focus area in our

  • Corporate Strategy ‘Empower our People’ strategic focus area - ‘We’re one team that reflects the diversity of our customers.  We welcome differences and everyone’s ideas and viewpoints are valued, building a safe space where people find inspiring opportunities in water.’
  • Safety, People and Governance Strategy
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Operational Plan, which is supported by a Disability Action Plan

Our commitment is supported by our Board and Executive who sponsor the development of strategies and plans which:

  • Develop inclusive recruitment and employment strategies
  • Set objectives and measurable targets that guide the implementation of the Safety, People and Wellbeing Strategy and our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Operational Plan, and review progress against key programs of work
  • Continue education and communication to our employees, customers and communities by promoting the benefits that diversity, equity and inclusion brings to our organisation
  • Promote gender equality in policies, programs and services that impact our employees or the public
  • Ensure we comply with legislation
4. Policy statement

We want to achieve a diverse and equitable workplace and inclusive culture where difference is recognised and celebrated, and our people have a strong sense of belonging. Bringing together people from diverse backgrounds achieves better outcomes for all as our outcomes and decisions are improved through access to a diversity of skills, experiences and perspectives driving value for our organisation, workforce, stakeholders and communities.

We’ll do this through:

  • Embracing workforce diversity and providing equal employment opportunities for all
  • Removing barriers to workforce participation and progression
  • Valuing and showing respect for different perspectives – leveraging diverse ideas, knowledge, skills, experience and working styles of our stakeholders, employees and customers
  • Providing access to opportunities for flexible work arrangements to accommodate the diverse needs of individuals at different career and life stages
  • Respecting stakeholder diversity – building strong relationships and partnerships with diverse communities, employees, customers and suppliers
  • Proactive employee and external communications – bringing to life and celebrating inclusion and diversity through internal news, social media and external feature articles
  • Empowering our employees – helping our diverse workforce to grow, connect and be supported by providing opportunities for employee resource groups to share experiences and knowledge and create a safe space to promote a culture of inclusion
5. Related policies and procedures
  • Anti-discrimination, harassment, bullying policy and grievance procedure
  • Code of conduct
  • Disability procedure
  • Flex@South East Water framework
  • Leave Policy
  • Reconciliation Action Plan
  • Wellbeing framework
  • Recruitment and Selection Policy
  • South East Water Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP)
6. Relevant legislation
  • Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth)
  • Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic)
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)
  • Disability Act 2006 (Vic)
  • Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic)
  • Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
  • Gender Equality Act 2020 (Vic)
  • Public Administration Act 2004 (Vic)
  • Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth)
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth)
7. Approval

Approved by: South East Water Board of Directors

Approved on: 4 December 2023

Sponsor: General Manager, People, Safety & Governance

Implementer: Inclusion and Diversity Coach

Review date: 4 December 2025