The NSW division of one of the country’s largest unions has elected Rita Mallia as its new president.
It seems that more and more women are making it to top roles in Australian businesses and organisations.
But the story of Rita Mallia is still something of a rarity, which is one of the reasons why the Penrith local and Sydney Law School graduate is gaining column inches in publications across the nation.
The daughter of Maltese immigrants who moved to Australia in the 1960s, Ms Mallia is now the first woman in New South Wales to hold a senior position with the Construction Forestry Mining and Electricity Union (CFMEU).
An appointment of this kind proves that even one of the country's blokiest unions is open to what Ms Mallia refers to as "generation change".
The 40-year-old, who was elected president of the CFMEU by NSW members of the trade union, said she was happy to be the chief spokesperson for the organisation and in doing so show people that the union is "not an old dinosaur".
She also said that she was keen to take on the challenging role, which includes making amendments to its public image and increasing its membership.
"We do get a bit of bad press and are painted in a negative light and I think that is something that we should try and work towards overcoming, to show that the union does have a very relevant place in the economy and in society," she told The Australian.
When asked about the role of unions in a country where trade union membership has been declining steadily since the early 1980s, Ms Mallia said it was still important to voice the concerns of workers.
"[There is still] a very strong place for unions in Australia and I don't think people necessarily want to see the end of trade unionism," she asserted.
And part of her plan to update the trade union is to encourage more women to take on trades and pursue a career in the construction, forestry and energy sectors.
In an interview with the Penrith Press Ms Mallia said: "One of the key things I'd like to see develop is more women coming into the industry."
"Last year we had a successful women's conference with about 60 women from forestry, mining, construction and energy sectors coming together. I'd like to build on that."
Showing his support for her appointment is Master Builders' Brian Seidler. The executive director said it was "a good thing to see that a union as robust as the CFMEU is embracing women in a senior position".