Australia Post and the company behind the national broadband network will be required to set aside 40 per cent of board positions for women.
Federal Finance Minister Penny Wong has told an audience with Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly that gender quotas will apply to all government business enterprises.
That means NBN Co, Australia Post, Medibank Private and the Australian Sports Commission will be required to have women filling 40 per cent of board positions.
“A key element of these reforms is requiring board chairs and responsible ministers to focus on gender diversity when appointing board members,” Senator Wong told the Global Banking Alliance for Women forum in Sydney.
“Specifically, the government’s target of women holding 40 per cent of board positions will apply rigour and provide a measure of our success.”
Senator Wong, who is Australia’s second ever female finance minister, said this would see more women excel in high positions.
“It is my view that the government should lead, rather than follow on gender equality.”
Labor promised during the 2010 election campaign to have 40 per cent female representation on public boards by 2015.
Last month, Ms Kelly rejected the idea that private sector companies should be forced to have more women on their boards.