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NSW announces female expert panel to improve women’s economic opportunities

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has defended his male-dominated leadership team after his government launched an initiative to improve the economic opportunities of women.

Mr Perrottet on Monday announced the government would seek to “level the playing field” by appointing a female expert panel to advise government on how to give women a fair shake.

The panel, which will include women like the Muslim Women Association chief executive Maha Abdo and writer Daisy Turnbull, will contribute to a formal review into the issue.

“This is something that we need to do,” Women Minister Bronnie Taylor said.

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Camera IconNSW Women Minister Bronnie Taylor said ensuring equal opportunities for women would benefit everyone. Gaye Gerard / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

“And this is something that’s not only going to benefit young women who are five years old, who are 12 years old or who are 68 years old – this is going to benefit everybody in the long term.”

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said the unequal opportunities for women were “not acceptable”.

“What’s clear is that women’s ability to participate and thrive in the NSW economy is not the same as it is for men in the state,” Mr Kean said.

“That is not acceptable in the 21st century.”

Mr Kean said that the participation rate for women was 9 per cent lower than for men and retiring women have to rely on superannuation balances that are only two-thirds of those of the average male.

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Camera IconNSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the formation of a new female expert panel. Gaye Gerard / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Perrottet was asked by a reporter why he didn’t appoint more women to his cabinet and whether if he had more women at the table there would be no need to hire an external panel of women.

“We had for five years a great premier who was a woman here in NSW – Gladys Berejiklian,” Mr Perrottet said.

“To somehow suggest that this government has not been focused on women is completely wrong.”

The 26-member cabinet that Mr Perrottet appointed at the end of last year only has seven female ministers.

Mr Kean said a recent report had shown the state’s economy would be 8 per cent larger by the financial year 2060-2061 if women’s participation became equal to men’s.

On average, only 61 per cent of women participate in the workforce compared with 70 per cent of men, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

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