The Australian Institute of Architects has recently become a member of the Diversity Council Australia. Catherine Petterson outlines the focus of the DCA and the opportunities and resources it offers members.


Diversity Council Australia Limited is Australia’s only independent, not-for-profit member organisation focused on advancing the whole diversity agenda at a business, government and community level. We have been the advisor to Australian business on diversity issues for more than 25 years, driving business improvement through successful diversity programs.

DCA provides diversity advice, strategy and practical tools to more than 170 member organisations, many of who are Australia’s business diversity leaders and biggest employers. Our members are drawn from a broad range of different industry sectors and vary from small to large workforces in size.  DCA’s founding members include ANZ Bank, AMP, AXA, BHP Billiton, Boral, IBM Australia, Orica, Rio Tinto and Westpac.

Leading thinking and innovative research

We partner with our members to create the workplace of the future by leading public debate through cutting edge research, thinking and practice on the full range of diversity issues.

We strongly believe that public awareness of, and debate about, diversity issues impacting Australian society, business and individuals will continue to grow and therefore present DCA and its members with a unique opportunity to lead current thinking on diversity issues.

DCA generates ground breaking diversity research that enables Australian organisations to fully leverage the benefits of a diverse talent pool. For example, major research projects underway include: Mainstreaming flexible work, shedding valuable light on barriers to flexibility and new ways of making flexible working and careers standard business practice; and Capitalising on Culture, encouraging organisations to better measure and take advantage of cultural diversity in the workplace.

DCA has also made numerous submissions to other important government inquiries on legislative reform pertaining to equal employment opportunity/diversity. Recent submissions have been made to inquiries such as the Australian Law Reform Commission Issues Paper: Grey Areas – Age Barriers to Work in Commonwealth Laws; and the Review of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 and Agency in which numerous recommendations that DCA made in its submission to the Inquiry were taken up by the Government.

DCA members have access to leading thinking, practice and research on diversity through our regular publications Research Matters, Diversity Matters update and Diversity Matters. Members can also access our website that provides a wealth of useful information on diversity to members, in a variety of formats such as video and audio.

Gender diversity a focus

DCA is very active in the gender diversity space. We recently released findings from a benchmarking exercise on DCA members’ parental leave and return to work policies. We put out an Issues Paper, ‘Tartan skirts and old school ties: The boys club/girls club in Australian boardrooms’, to advance public debate around gender diversity on corporate boards and ensure a diverse range of women is represented. In response to ASX reporting requirements on diversity and upcoming changes to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act, we established the Gender Reporting Network to assist member organisations in preparing for the proposed changes.

DCA will conduct a new research project called Grey Matters to Women, that will encourage Australian organisations to implement workforce solutions that better harness the skills and talents of Australia’s female mature-age workforce.

Networking and knowledge sharing

DCA has an exciting calendar of events that includes a selection of formats such as face to face forums, teleconferences, ‘hot topic’ updates and research briefings – all designed to ensure that our members have access to networking alongside cutting edge diversity thinking with commercial application that can be readily applied in your workplaces to drive business performance.

Our Annual Diversity Debate in 2011, moderated by Tony Jones, journalist and host of ABC TV’s QandA, explored whether or not statutory quotas for women on boards are necessary. The capacity crowd of over 140 CEOs, HR directors and managers witnessed an entertaining and informative debate amongst the panel of high profile business leaders and commentators. This year’s debate hosted by Tony Jones took place in November 2012.

Become a DCA member

DCA Chair, Anna McPhee, former Director of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, said access to a skilled workforce is a growing challenge for business leaders:

Solutions can come from new migrants or better maximising the potential and productivity of the existing workforce, including ending the underemployment of women. Both require action by business to remove the barriers to greater diversity in all workplaces and at every level right up to the top.

Being part of DCA, a member-based organisation, will give your business access to the latest information, research, advice and networks to implement and enhance diversity programs to deliver real results.

Whether your organisation is just commencing its diversity strategic planning, or you need to show diversity competency in tender documentation, or even if you are well advanced in achieving your diversity goals and are looking for new frontiers in diversity thinking, membership of DCA will provide your organisation with many benefits.

For more information about membership or to see a list of DCA members, visit or contact us on (02) 9035 2852 or