Publishing the Welsh Government’s Equality Objectives and Strategic Equality Plan the Minister said that they had been developed to make a real difference to people’s lives.
Jane Hutt said:
"We all want to live in a society which is safe and where there is fairness, where people from different backgrounds can live together harmoniously and where discrimination is not tolerated. This is fundamental to enable communities in Wales to grow and to flourish now and in the future.
"This approach is reflected within the Equality Objectives and Strategic Equality Plan which are being published today. They highlight how the Government is fulfilling its duty under the Equality Act 2010 and the Welsh specific equality duties.
"I want to be clear that our approach is not just about words on paper, but highlights the outcomes we want to achieve, how we are going to do this and how we can measure the impact of our actions."
The Welsh specific equality duties are designed to ensure that public services and employment are fair, accessible and responsive to people’s needs from feeling safe out and about to giving people the chance to flourish at school and in work. A person’s gender, race, faith or belief, sexual orientation, age, being a mother-to-be, being married or in a civil partnership, being disabled or transgender should not put them at a disadvantage.
The Minister said:
"There is a strong relationship between inequality and poverty and we will ensure that our Strategic Equality Plan and Anti-Poverty Action Plan dovetail and complement one another.
"There are barriers which need to be removed to ensure that we have greater fairness and where every-one feels included and valued. The Strategic Equality Plan highlights what the Welsh Government will focus on in order to deliver this."
Considerable public engagement on the Objectives and the Strategic Equality Plan has taken place. Workshops, focus groups and other events have been held with stakeholders and over 400 people and organisations responded to a questionnaire which gave people the opportunity to give their views on equality issues.
Jane Hutt added:
"By getting the views of such a wide range of people we have been able to identify the most pressing barriers people face in their everyday lives. Many people were concerned about equality in employment while others called on the Welsh Government to do more to tackle violence and hate crime.
"These views have all helped to inform us as we have developed our Equality Objectives.
"However, publishing the Strategic Equality Plan and Equality Objectives today is only the beginning. Our objectives will not remain static. They will evolve to reflect what people are telling us about their experiences, where we’re making progress and where more needs to be done.
"With the Welsh specific duties we have a unique opportunity to make a real difference. We want all our actions to make concrete improvements and to go to the heart of a fair and cohesive society in Wales."