Equity, Diversity and Inclusion - Governing Policy | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Equity, Diversity and Inclusion - Governing Policy

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Approval authority
Responsible Executive member
Vice-Chancellor and President
Designated officer
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students)
First approved
21 February 2006
Last amended
26 August 2022
Review date
30 May 2023
Related documents
Superseded documents
  • Equity - Governing Policy
Related legislation / standards
  • Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld)
  • Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cwlth)
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)
  • Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cwlth)
  • Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cwlth)
  • Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cwlth)
  • Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Cwlth)
  • Student Charter
  • Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld)

1. Purpose of policy

1.1 This policy provides a statement of the commitment by the University to create a work and study environment which values the rich diversity of its staff and students. The University aims to facilitate equitable access and full participation for those staff and students from disadvantaged backgrounds or who are under-represented. The University encourages all members of the University community to take personal responsibility for working to eliminate discriminatory practices.

2. Policy scope and application

2.1 This policy applies to staff and students of the University in any area and at any time they are undertaking work or study related activities both within Australia and overseas, including during work placement and international conferences. This policy also applies to volunteers, contractors and visitors to the University. It draws its principles from the values and strategic goals stated in the USC Strategic Plan 2019-2022.

3. Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to this policy and are critical to its effectiveness:

Attribute: a characteristic which a person has, or may be imputed to have now, previously or in the future. A protected attribute is one that is listed in the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) and includes:

  • parental status
  • pregnancy
  • breastfeeding
  • religious belief or activity
  • political belief or activity
  • relationship status
  • sex
  • lawful sexual activity
  • gender identity
  • sexuality
  • age
  • race, nationality or ethnic origin
  • disability or impairment
  • trade union activity
  • family responsibilities
  • association with, or relation to, a person identified on the basis of any of the above attributes.

Reasonable adjustment: a specific measure put in place to enable equitable access or participation in employment or education.

4. Policy Statement

4.1 Principles

The University is committed to the principles of equity, fairness and inclusivity. The University recognises that there are groups of people who have experienced long term and/or systemic disadvantage and undertakes to redress this through taking appropriate and reasonable measures to ensure equity of access and participation in all aspects of university life for its staff, current and prospective students and other members of the university community.

The University strives to eliminate discrimination, harassment, bullying and vilification in all aspects of its operations and to create an environment where all members of the University community can work and study within a culture based on mutual respect. Such a culture encourages the use of inclusive language and respectful interpersonal interactions.

4.2 Actions

4.2.1 The University will take all reasonable steps to actively promote an environment in which the diversity of its staff, students and wider community members is valued and where people can reach their full potential without fear of being discriminated against or bullied or harassed, either on the basis of an attribute protected under anti-discrimination legislation or some other attribute irrelevant to their role within the University community.

4.2.2 The University will systematically review its policies, procedures and guidelines to ensure they are consistent with and reflect the principles of equity and social justice and are compatible with human rights. The aim is to remove barriers to full participation in employment or education, making reasonable adjustments as necessary, and to undertake consultation with those most affected by its decisions.

4.2.3 The University recognises the distinct cultural rights of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia as a human right, and in partnership with the local Elders and their communities, will develop plans and programs to increase access to employment and education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

4.2.4 The pedagogical principles of universal design will be considered and incorporated as appropriate in order to enhance the quality of the student experience by catering for the diversity of students and the range of learning styles, and by ensuring the teaching and learning experience is inclusive of cultural, social and gender diversity.

4.2.5 The University will systematically review its employment programs, including recruitment, retention, performance management, promotions, talent identification and workforce planning, learning and development, turnover, and remuneration to ensure practices are consistent with the principles of this policy and free from bias.

4.2.6 While all members of the University community have a role to play in the implementation of this policy, the Director, People and Culture and Academic Registrar and Director, Student Services are specifically tasked with promotion of this policy and ensuring staff and students respectively, are aware of their rights and obligations.

5. Authorities/Responsibilities

The following authorities are delegated under this policy:


University Officer

Ensuring accountability of senior officers in implementing this policy

Vice-Chancellor and President

Monitoring and reporting to Vice-Chancellor and President

Vice-Chancellor and President’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students)

Indigenous employment

Director, People and Culture

AccessAbility Services

Academic Registrar and Director, Student Services

Student grievance resolution policies and procedures

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students)

Staff grievance resolution policies and procedures

Director, People and Culture