The members of the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW (the Board) continued to provide strategic advice and support to Elizabeth Wing, the Senior Manager Operations, in the complex and time consuming organisational restructure that has occupied most of the year. Elizabeth led and successfully managed the entire process, for which I and the Board are deeply appreciative. The support of the Department of Communities and Justice throughout has been effective and also much appreciated. This continued support, from the Attorney-General and the Department, has been crucial to assist the Board to carry out its work and to achieve its goals.
The restructure has resulted in functional and structural changes. A Governance and Advice team has been established, and the Regional Services and Community Engagement teams have been realigned. These changes, including new team leadership, have provided new focus and energy to the work of the Board. Indeed, following the finalisation of the change management plan, the Board decided that a new name would not only refresh the business unit, which sits within the Department of Communities and Justice, but also provide a distinct identity for the work of the business unit and clarify the difference between the business unit and the statutory board. Effective from 1 July 2019, the more contemporary name of Anti-Discrimination NSW (ADNSW) was adopted; the statutory board, as established under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) (the Act), comprises the President and Board members, who constitute the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW.
Despite the focus on the restructure, the Board and the Senior Manager Operations continued to look for opportunities to maximise our impact and effectiveness in creating awareness of what constitutes discrimination under the Act and the role of what is now ADNSW. In this regard, the Board appreciates that strategies need to be considered, including the effectiveness of interfaces with the public, in the context of changes in facilities and processes to deal with the digital age. During 2018-19, the Board developed a five year digital strategy and is looking forward to the creation of a new digital platform that can ensure effective implementation.
During the restructure, it was determined that the Newcastle premises were unsuitable. After an extensive search for a suitable alternative, a co-location arrangement with Hunter Water has been implemented. We are grateful to the staff and management of Hunter Water for their co-operation and welcome approach and also for the resilience of our own staff through this change.
At all times, there was continuity in responding to enquiries and dealing with and conciliating complaints. We are fortunate to have experienced conciliators who maintain a high standard and who work hard to resolve issues between the parties. Where such resolution is not possible, the cases are referred to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The Community Engagement Team (the Team) has continued to work with schools through a Youth Forum Program that has engaged with a broad group of young people. This program will be evaluated and is expected to be refined in future activities. The focus of the Team is to broaden its reach into regional and rural parts of the State by collaborating with other agencies, such as the Legal Information Access Centre during Law Week. The Board appreciates the commitment of our staff to regional and remote clients and to the regular visits that are made to those areas.
Reassessment of the effectiveness and reach of activity has also resulted in the conclusion, after much consideration, that the Board needed to change the means by which it interacted effectively across the breadth of the community. This interaction should be enhanced by the implementation of the digital plan.
The Board collaborated with marketing students at Bond University to devise marketing strategies. The students provided novel and interesting approaches, which the Team will consider in forming new strategies for ADNSW.
I wish to extend my personal gratitude to the members of the Board, the Senior Manager and the staff. I continue to meet with people and organisations that can assist us to extend our reach to move towards the goal of reducing, if not eliminating, discrimination in NSW. Now that the restructure is nearing completion, I am looking forward to harnessing the expertise and the energy of the staff, and of the members of the Board, to implement the strategies towards achieving this goal.
The Honourable Dr Annabelle Bennett, AC SC
02 Dec 2022
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.