Economic security

Discover achievements made in 2022 and focus areas in 2023 to deliver on commitments made in the Queensland women’s strategy 2022–27 (the strategy) in the area of economic security.

2022 achievements

  • In August 2022, the Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment hosted the Women in Investment Forum, sharing valuable insights from women-led businesses, entrepreneurs, and trade and investment leaders of Queensland. The forum identified business, trade and investment support and pathways and programs available to support women-led businesses in Queensland.
  • In November 2022, the Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur hosted the inaugural 2022 Women’s Investment Summit, a 1-day national event with nearly 100 women in business participants. Attendees brought into focus the challenges and opportunities to advance the economic participation of women through entrepreneurship and investment.
  • The Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG) released Connecting women in the workforce, listing “women in” employment groups. This initiative was informed by the Workforce Summit 2022 and the aim is to connect and provide support to women entering into non-traditional, male dominated sectors.
  • The Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport (DTIS):
    • partnered with Silicon Valley’s Entrepreneur Futures Network and the US Department of State to deliver a mentoring program for young emerging female founders to better equip them to fundraise and excel in the international entrepreneurship ecosystem
    • supported 12 female founders to participate in the Certified Chair Executive Program designed to empower senior executives to establish, chair and facilitate boards that drive results for dynamic and high growth potential businesses
    • supported female founders to undertake the Board Pathways Program providing entrepreneurial and innovative thinkers with the practical steps to develop board level engagement
    • announced a further $3 million funding for the next stage of Female Founders programs, including the Co-investment grant fund and the Accelerating Female Founders program, which opened for applications in January 2023
    • commenced the Queensland Academy of Sport You for 2032 program, Australia's largest athlete talent identification program focused on finding and developing athletes to win at the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games (54% of athlete applications in 2022 came from female athletes)
    • commenced the Queensland Academy of Sport Generation 2032 Elite Coaching Program, where 50% of scholarships were awarded to emerging female coaches.
  • The Department of Education (DoE) expanded the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Girl Power Camp initiative to a year-long program focusing on engaging Year 10 girls from Queensland state schools in STEM experiences to encourage their participation in senior STEM subjects and careers.
  • The Department of Employment, Small Business and Training:
    • released the Good People. Good Jobs: Queensland workforce strategy (2022–2032), which highlights achievements and opportunities within the Queensland workforce for women
    • supported 4,567 women under the Skilling Queenslanders for Work (SQW) initiative; of the 2,639 women who exited a SQW program, 1,717 (or 65%) have secured ongoing employment due to their participation in SQW, 311 have pursued further training, and 17 returned to school
    • revitalised the Back to Work program which supported 492 previously unemployed women into employment with 416 employers, as well as 404 businesses owned by women that accessed Back to Work Incentive Payments in 2022.
  • The Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC)—with support from the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy (DCHDE) and other agencies—delivered the Queensland Housing Summit 2022, which brought together federal and state MPs as well as housing, community and industry stakeholders, to work towards addressing the housing crisis in Queensland, acknowledging that older women are the fastest growing homeless population nationally.
  • The Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water (DRDMW) hosted several Women in Manufacturing seminars throughout the year. Commencing in 2017, these seminars continue to increase the participation, recognition and focus on women in the manufacturing industry to provide support, encouragement, and networking opportunities for women in the industry.

Good news story

Abby Walsh, Director—Stomping Elephants, Mackay (jewellery manufacturer)

Abby Walsh is an inspiration. Drawn to arts and design at a young age—and studying manual arts in high school—Abby started making jewellery in 2014 and began selling her products at the local Mackay market. Her brand Stomping Elephants gained traction fast and it wasn’t long before demand for her jewellery was skyrocketing. To cater for the demand, Abby set up a network of representatives around Australia who began selling jewellery to a much larger customer base.

As the business grew, so did the need for bigger and better equipment, and after 2 years of managing a home business, Abby and her husband Paul moved into their factory premises in South Mackay, which is home to a dedicated design team, purpose-built production line and assembly area. The factory is home to 15 employees with women in the majority of roles from graphic design, production and assembly.

Abby has recently discovered Mackay’s Manufacturing Hub and is continuing on her manufacturing journey through attending LEAN workshops and discovering new, efficient ways of doing things.

2023 focus

  • DJAG:
    • will continue to work with the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC) and Queensland Treasury to explore options to incorporate and strengthen gender analysis into policy and program development, and as part of the annual budget process, across all agencies
    • will continue to explore opportunities for using government’s purchasing power to drive increased gender equality in the private sector and encouraging businesses and community organisations to the same.
  • The Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT):
    • will coordinate implementation of the Queensland workforce strategy and the 33 actions in its first Action plan (2022–2025), including several actions supporting increased female workforce participation and improved workforce attraction and retention for diverse workforces
    • will action the 12 recommendations of the Queensland Training Ombudsman’s report Review of support provided to Queensland apprentices and trainees, with a focus on female apprentices in male dominated occupations.
  • DRDMW will develop the Women in manufacturing strategy, designed to explore how the Queensland Government can increase the number of women working in the manufacturing industry.
  • The Queensland Government will continue to explore opportunities for the ways in which women and girls in Queensland can benefit from 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games.

What the Queensland Government is already doing

  • The Department of Environment and Science (DES) champions Women in National Parks through the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Partnerships Possum Drey. The Possum Drey is a grassroots gender equity community of practice that aims to foster a workplace that is positive engaging and respectful of all employees. The Possum Drey’s primary focus is on gender equity and aims to make its initiatives inclusive and representative of all minority groups.
  • The Department of Energy and Public Works (DEPW) initiatives Women in Construction and the QBuild Women in Construction Network both seek to create opportunities for women—including apprentices—in frontline trades such as carpentry, painting, electrical and plumbing. Further, the Queensland Government is committed to the 11% target of the National Association for Women in Construction and is actively pursuing initiatives to exceed this target on projects.
  • DTIS supports Basic Rights Queensland, an employment advisory service for women. Basic Rights Queensland provides free advice, advocacy and referral services on all work-related issues, including to women who face domestic and family violence, are entering or re-entering the workforce, and work in precarious or low-status employment.
  • DESBT provides ongoing supports to women across the state through several initiatives: Back to Work program; Growing Workforce Participation Fund; Manufacturing Skills Queensland; Micro-credentialing pilot program; Free Apprenticeships and Free TAFE for under 25s initiative; JobTrainer Fund; Equipping TAFE for our Future; Big Plans for Small Business grants package; Small Business Engagement Framework; Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative; and the Pre-employment support program.