Facts, figures and visuals on public sector boards

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Key facts

  • 3,538 public sector boards
  • 32,269 board members
  • 81% of board members volunteer their time (excludes members of school councils)
  • 55% of members on major boards are women
  • 77% of board members reside in regional and rural Victoria (excludes members of school councils).

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Role of public sector boards

Public sector boards are responsible for the strategic direction, governance and risk management of Victorian public sector entities in line with the relevant legislation.

They can include boards of governance of public entities and advisory bodies.

Board members are senior leaders of the public sector.

Read more about the role of boards

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Gender of board members

Women on major boards

In the past, women were under-represented on major Victorian public sector boards.

So in March 2015, the government set a 50% target that all new appointments to major boards be women.

Major boards are the 338 larger public entity boards and exclude:

  • boards with only members who are elected or who are ex officio members (a person who is on a board because of their role)
  • equality portfolio boards
  • most advisory boards
  • school councils
  • small cemetery trusts
  • small rural hospitals
  • small Crown land committees of management.

From 2015 to June 2021, women on major boards have gone up from 39% to 55%.

Based on a portfolio breakdown, women’s representation has improved in most portfolios. For major boards, women remain under-represented only in boards in the Planning and Local Government portfolio group, where 44% are women.

See the portfolio breakdown in our data set.

Women on all boards

Women on all boards have gone up from 36% at June 2018 to 40% at June 2021. This doesn’t include school councils, as the data is unavailable.

There are low rates of representation of women on boards at:

  • cemetery trusts at 30%
  • Crown land committees of management at 37%.

These 2 categories make up 1,586 or 45% of all boards and 10,615 or 33% of all board members. These contribute to the overall representation of women on boards.

Most cemetery trust and Crown land committee of management boards:

  • are based in rural areas
  • don’t employ staff
  • have members nominated from local communities or are long-term members
  • manage small assets.

From June 2018 to June 2021:

  • women on cemetery trusts boards have gone up from 28% to 30%
  • women on Crown land committees of management boards have gone up from 33% to 37%.

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Ages of board members

The age of 82% of all board members, mainly from school councils and small committees of management, isn’t available.

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Percentage of boards members by diversity group, location and volunteer status

Percentage breakdown of board members:

  • 1.6% identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • 18% identify as culturally or linguistically diverse
  • 1.4% identify as a person with disability
  • 77% are regional and rural residents
  • 81% are volunteers.

Diversity data, location and volunteer status aren’t collected for school councils.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander data and culturally and linguistically diverse status data aren’t collected for small committees of management.

We define culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) if a person is:

  • born in a country other than Australia
  • has one or more parents born in a country other than Australia
  • speaks a primary language at home that’s not English
  • speaks another language at home that’s not English
  • self-identified as CALD.

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Boards by portfolio

Data set

This data set covers June 2018 to June 2021.

We publish board and board member profile data from over 3,500 boards and about 32,000 board members.

We source this data from the Government Appointments and Public Entities Database (GAPED).

Board and board member profile

This file shows the number of Victorian public sector boards and the number of board members for each portfolio department and ministerial portfolio.

The file also has a list of Victorian public sector boards showing:

  • classification
  • status as a major board
  • status as an employer
  • number of board members.

It also has a profile of board members for each department and ministry portfolio from June 2018 to 2021 showing numbers by:

  • gender
  • age
  • residential location of metropolitan Melbourne or regional Victoria
  • volunteer status
  • diversity groups of board members who are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, have disability and are culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD).

In the file, we’ve grouped school councils, small cemetery trusts and small land management committees together.

Download board and board member profile data (XLS, 166KB)

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