Pride in Diversity will launch a new focus on the workplace in regional Australia as part of a summit in Townsville in Queensland this week.

The event will provide opportunity for LGBTI employers and employees to connect with managers and professionals from both the public and private sector to learn from each other’s experiences.

Pride in Diversity is ACON’s LGBTI workplace inclusion program, which provides employer support to ensure the health and wellbeing of LGBTI employees in Australia.

“Over the last decade, employers across Australia, have made enormous strides in progressing workplace inclusion initiatives focused on their LGBTI talent,” ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said.

“This includes those in the private sector as well those in all levels of government and irrespective of organisational size.

“However, one of the challenges facing organisations is how to ensure that such positive steps are reaching all their employees, irrespective of their distance from head office.

“Pride in Diversity works across a community of 250 member organisations, and supports employers across Australia – including those in regional and rural centres – with all aspects of LGBTI inclusion,” Parkhill said.

This year’s Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) survey found that employees in rural and regional Australia face particular challenges in the workplace.

The AWEI found that regional employees were twice as likely to identify their direct management as the source of bullying in the workplace.

“We know fear of abuse or discrimination forces many LGBTI people to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity, which can lead to poor health outcomes,” Pride Inclusion Programs Director Dawn Hough said.

“Pride in Diversity is making a difference in helping employers create more diverse and inclusive workplaces, to ensure all Australians can be themselves at work, regardless of where they are.”

The Regional Reach Program launch includes a morning tea with political, sporting and educational leaders.

For more information about Pride in Diversity, head to the Pride Inclusions Program website.

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