Annual Report 2012-13

President’s report

The main activities of the AntiDiscrimination Board of NSW in 2012-13 reflect our statutory functions to handle complaints and to inform people about their rights and responsibilities under antidiscrimination law.

The first step for many people experiencing discrimination is to consult the Board’s extensive website. In 2012-13 Board staff spent considerable time converting the site to the Department of Attorney General and Justice (DAGJ)’s new content management system. This has enabled a more accessible structure and has also provided the opportunity to review all the existing material on the site.

Other people contact our Enquiry Service, which still receives thousands of telephone enquiries each year and provides advice to both individuals and employers and service providers. 

The number of complaints we receive has remained fairly constant for the last ten years, although there has been a slight decrease from 2011-12. In 2012-13 we received 1,053 complaints, with disability discrimination, race discrimination and victimisation the most frequent grounds of complaint.

The conciliation team continues to achieve excellent results, with 1,042 complaints dealt with in 2012-13. The team took an average of 6.3 months taken to finalise complaints, and 88% were finalised within twelve months. Complaints resolved through conciliation often require extensive knowledge and skill and the Board is very fortunate to have such an experienced team.

The Board’s Education Service has continued its workplace training program in 2012-13. Demand for the fee-paying service has weakened since the global financial crisis, but the program still brought in a total of $473,868, including publication sales. The fact that this was achieved despite a very limited marketing budget demonstrates the excellent reputation of our training team.

Community education is another important aspect of the Board’s work. This year we worked with groups including homeless people, new refugees, seniors, the Assyrian, Sudanese and Bhutanese communities, African community leaders and school and TAFE students.

A significant project for the publications team this year was a new edition of our Guidelines for the Hotel and Accommodation Industry, produced with the Australian Hotels Association (NSW) and Tourism Accommodation Australia (NSW), in consultation with the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing. This is particularly relevant as the discrimination issues facing hotels can be complex, and it is encouraging to work with the AHA on such a useful resource.

In 2012-13 the Board commissioned an independent review of its education service, with the agreement of the Director General of DAGJ, Laurie Glanfield. The review made a number of recommendations which will be considered and implemented through 2013-14. In doing so, I look forward to broadening the scope of the service and providing it with a more sustainable revenue base.

Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team also continued its activities in 2012-13. 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.

Accompanied by the leader of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team, I undertook a trip to Bourke in May 2013. The trip was suggested after discrimination issues in the area were raised by community members. This was an excellent opportunity to discuss concerns and meet with local officials, which will hopefully foster better relations in the community.

Our two part-time Legal Officers continue to advise the statutory Board members on applications for exemptions from the ADA, as well as dealing with other legal matters. We continue to receive significant numbers of these applications, and some raise complex legal issues, so I am very appreciative of their assistance.

All this work has been achieved in a context of considerable pressure on the Board’s budget and resources. In 2012-13 the Board was restructured to achieve budget savings. The education and liaison and support teams were combined into a Business Support Branch and management of our regional offices was consolidated. Five positions were removed, involving three redundancies. 

As previously, due to budget constraints there has been a significant impact on our ability to deliver on our statutory functions to conduct inquiries, review legislation and develop human rights policies and programs.

Thanks to all the Board’s staff, particularly to Elizabeth Wing, and including our Liaison and Support team who facilitate the core work of the Board. Thanks also to the members of our advisory committees who provide valuable input on issues of concern in the community.

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.

Mr Glanfield left the department in July 2013 after 36 years’ service to become Director General of the Department of Finance and Services, and I have personally appreciated his interest and support for the Board in the years we have worked together.

Stepan Kerkyasharian AO
Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW


Last updated:

02 Dec 2022

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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.

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