MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:06): Yesterday the results of Universities Australia’s 2021 National Student Safety Survey were released. It is deeply concerning and an indictment on our society that sexual harassment and gender discrimination still occur at universities throughout Australia. The results reinforce the distressing fact that students, especially women and LGBTQIA+ communities, are at risk and that their time at universities will be damaged.
It is time that we all unite and say ‘stop’. As leaders in our communities we must all ensure that we make it clear that all forms of harassment and violence are unacceptable. We all have a role to play in creating safe, equal and respectful futures, and I am determined to work with Victorian universities and all education providers to eliminate harassment and assault. The report clearly demonstrates that universities need to do more. I have asked the Victorian vice-chancellors to provide me with details of their approach and action to tackle this serious problem. It is top of the agenda for the Victorian vice-chancellors forum in April.
The Andrews Labor government has shown leadership. We have implemented the world-leading Educating for Equality to help universities prevent gendered violence in collaboration with Our Watch; we have funded a flagship gender equality and family violence research program at Monash University, which builds on the experience of survivors to develop better responses and prevention measures; and last year we introduced the Australian-first Respect and Equality in TAFE program. There is a lot of work to be done, and this government is absolutely committed to ensuring a safe, equal and respectful future for all Victorians.